Archive for August, 2011

Safety a priority at Aloha Tower

August 25th, 2011

Promoters announced this week that Fiji, pictured, will join the lineup on Friday at Aloha Tower Marketplace. The concert will also double as a birthday celebration for local recording artist Siaosi. (Star-Advertiser file)

Despite a slightly tarnished image and increased scrutiny by the Honolulu Liquor Commission and local law enforcement, it's a good bet that Aloha Tower Marketplace will be the safest venue in town on Friday night.

According to all accounts, everything was running smoothly early in the evening of Aug. 11 at the Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Opening acts Jah Maoli, Kimie, Micah G and Common Kings had the crowd itching to kick things into overdrive with "Hawaii's Most Wanted" headliner Tarrus Riley, and he didn't disappoint.

'Island Summer Massive'

With Three Houses Down, Fiji, Nesian N.I.N.E., Maoli, Siaosi, Hot Rain and Na Drua

» Where: The Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace

» When: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26

» Cost: $28

» Info: or

What was unfortunate, however, was the violence that broke out during Riley's set — and apparently spilled out into the Aloha Tower Marketplace parking lot after security removed the troublemakers. In this age of smartphones and social media, a video clip from that evening was quickly posted online and spread like wildfire. (The clip also helped the Honolulu Police Department make arrests in the case.)

The situation immediately caught the attention of the Liquor Commission, who had staff at the concert that night. During a meeting last Thursday, HLC administrator Bert Nishioka told commissioners Wesley Fong, Patrick Kobayashi and Michael Yamaguchi that he had attended a meeting with Aloha Tower Marketplace property managers and a representative from the Waterfront, along with reps from HPD and the Department of Public Safety. At the time, Nishioka said the licensee (the Waterfront) was "seriously reviewing events" and even "contemplating canceling" two upcoming concerts, Friday's "Island Summer Massive" and next month's "Alohalaulea."

Thankfully, it doesn't look like things are going to go that far. After speaking again with Nishioka this week, along with the Waterfront's Rick Schneider and promoter Keahi Perreira, one thing was certain — there will be a significantly increased law enforcement presence at the show.

"I think everybody is going to be on edge because of what happened. … (But) if things work out how I think they're going to work out, there will be a major police presence," said Nishioka. "We're intensely involved in the situation. … And I think steps were taken by the licensee in conjunction with the promoter, to make sure this doesn't happen again."

Schneider echoed those sentiments this week via email.

"We at the Waterfront have spent a lot of time assessing what happened and what adjustments we can make to continue to provide for the safety and enjoyment of our audience," he wrote. "As a result, we have changed security companies and, to show we will not tolerate anti-social behavior, we are heavily increasing security for upcoming shows.

"We have always been committed to providing a safe and enjoyable venue for music, entertainment, and private functions and we are redoubling our efforts to insure that that is the case. … We are looking forward to Friday being a safe and enjoyable event as all our past events have been, with the one notable recent exception."

According to Schneider, Friday's concert has been changed from an 18-and-over event to being open only to those 21 and older. The change eliminated a need for separate "over" and "under" areas at the Waterfront, which is incorporated to ensure no underage drinking takes place inside the venue. Refusing entry to those under 21 years old should also mitigate the issue of illegal underage "pre-partying" in Aloha Tower Marketplace parking lots and the surrounding neighborhood.

"We're definitely aware of the situation," said EKM Records co-owner Perreira, whose company is helping to produce and promote the "Island Summer Massive." EKM was also one of the promoters involved with the Riley concert, so he was acutely aware of the negative vibes the fight video was spreading both online and in real life.

"Our shows are meant to be safely enjoyed," he added. "We don't want people to feel like they're in danger at all."

Perreira and his business partner, Shane Awai, have been active on a public Facebook group page called "Stop the Violence at Concerts," with Awai posting on Aug. 20 that "security adjustments (were) made" and Reliant Security would be providing 30 people at Friday's show, along with a large contingent of HPD officers and State Sheriffs. EKM will also add 10 "personal security staff" to the mix.

The heavy police presence should have a chilling effect on any troublemakers in the crowd at the Waterfront on Friday — but music fans should also consider this fair warning that the normal shenanigans people try to pull at concerts (smoking marijuana, sneaking in flasks of alcohol, etc.) will probably be dealt with more severely than at shows in the recent past. This heightened security level will also apply to next month's "Alohalaulea" concert.

"We'll still have to take precautions," said promoter Raymond Ho Jr. "At all 'Mayjah Rayjah' shows, we implement a bunch of stuff to help keep everyone safe. We do bag checks at the door and pre-band those who want to drink so there are no conflicts inside.

"This stuff may not seem like much, but it matters. We try to check all the problem people before bad things happen. None of our (six) shows we've done have had a fight so far. And I'd like to keep it that way."


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

VIDEO: Ke’Oahu wins Kani Ka Pila contest

August 21st, 2011

Ke'Oahu performs after winning the 2011 Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search. (Star-Advertiser photo by FL Morris)


Hawaiian music is alive and well in Waikiki, thanks to the ongoing efforts of Kani Ka Pila Grille at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. The poolside venue is one of the few left that features live entertainment daily, providing gigs for a number of local recording artists and lounge acts.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, during the second day of the 2011 Made in Hawaii Festival, five bands showed up at the Blaisdell Exhibition Hall to take part in the Kani Ka Pila Grille Talent Search Finals. Yours truly was asked to judge the event, along with the legendary Cyril Pahinui and Honolulu Community College's MELE Program coordinator Keala Chock. Up for grabs was a month's worth of Thursday night gigs at Kani Ka Pila Grille, plus studio time at HCC's Mike Curb MELE Studios.

Ke Kani Nahe, Ke'Oahu, Kaiholu, the Honolulu Lounge Lizards and Li'inui all brought their best effort to the finals, with each group getting 20 minutes to impress the audience and judges with their musical abilities. The competition was close — any of the five could easily hold down a regular gig in Waikiki — but in the end, it was Ke'Oahu who was awarded top honors.

While the name may be unfamiliar to most, Ke'Oahu is comprised of family members with deep musical roots in the islands. Led by sisters JoAnn Iwalani Maio and Leilani Vaka'uta, the quartet of children of Maui's Joseph Kalanipi'i Maio and Oahu's Maude Leialoha Ke'Oahu has a musical lineage that goes back five generations. The lineage was evident while watching them perform; despite the pressure to win, they exhibited the skill and professionalism necessary to not only play a gig, but to also educate visitors and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture in an effective manner.

Ke'Oahu will now be scheduled to play on Thursdays in September at Kani Ka Pila Grille. Call 924-4992 for more information.


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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PICS: 'Kani Ka Pila Talent Search Finals'

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Flair bartending makes a comeback

August 12th, 2011

After enjoying a surge in popularity almost a decade ago, flair bartending is set to make a comeback in Honolulu — and not surprisingly, some of the same faces are still involved.

For the uninitiated — or those too young to remember the movie "Cocktail" starring Tom Cruise — flair bartending is the art of tossing liquor bottles, glasses, garnishes and more while making someone a drink. These days, only a handful of bars in Hawaii allow their bartenders to truly incorporate flair into making drinks, but when done properly it can add excitement to the sometimes mundane task of buying a cocktail.

Some of the materials included with tuition for Bartending Academy Hawaii's new flair bartending class. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

From 2004 to 2007, flair bartending competitions were a regular occurrence in Honolulu. The old Jackie Chan's at Ala Moana Center employed a full staff of bartenders with flair experience, with former bar manager Cache Bouren leading a loose-knit group of flair practitioners until his departure from Hawaii in 2007. Once he left, the scene began to suffer and eventually withered away.

But when Bartending Academy Hawaii owner Regan Onikama heard some of the old players were back in town, he reached out to one person who never left — veteran local mixologist Moses Gomez — to see if there was interest in offering a class at his school. Gomez, along with Hawaii returnee Justin Keane and local flair phenom Kimo Mulder, have decided to give teaching a try, offering a two-week class that will show aspiring flair bartenders the basics.

Starting Monday, Aug. 15, BAH will offer the flair bartending class on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays (contact Onikama for class times), with participants also invited to take part in additional practice sessions at their convenience. Cost is $350, which includes a cocktail shaker, flair practice bottle and other materials.

Check out the video below for a taste of what's to come during next week's classes; visit Bartending Academy Hawaii's website or Facebook page for more info.


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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Tarrus Riley ready for Hawaii

August 10th, 2011

Tarrus Riley. (Courtesy photo)

After planting the seeds in March with an appearance at the "Spring Break 2011 Party of the Year" at Wet 'N' Wild Hawaii, international reggae recording artist Tarrus Riley is ready to enjoy a bountiful harvest of new fans when he returns to Honolulu this week.

"It's nice to come back so soon," he said via telephone from Jamaica on Tuesday. "I got a lot of good vibes last time."

While Riley wasn't the headliner at the watermark during Spring Break — that honor went to MTV's "Jersey Shore" stars Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino and Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi — this time he's front and center on the flier for "Hawaii's Most Wanted" tomorrow night at Aloha Tower Marketplace. He'll be joined by local openers Jah Maoli, Kimie, Micah G, Rootikal Riddim, Common Kings and Spawnbreezie, along with his backing players from Jamaica, the Blak Soil Band.

Ever since his last visit, Riley's music has steadily gotten more and more airplay on local radio stations, with one track in particular ("Love's Contagious") scoring him a ton of fans after he recorded a remix for 93.1 Da Pa'ina that's as much an ode to Hawaii as it is a promotional tool for the radio station.

"Not because I'm doing an interview with you now, but I'm really looking forward to Hawaii," he said. "It's a big deal."

What some of Riley's fans may not realize, however, is that all of the songs getting played on the radio these days are actually from albums released years ago. 2006's "Parables" and 2009's "Contagious" are the source of hits like "She's Royal," "Superman" and the aforementioned "Love's Contagious." Ever since his last album was released, Riley said he's been touring relentlessly in the United States and elsewhere to gain new fans outside of Jamaica.

I'm bringing this music to the people," he explained. "After you record, you've got to go out and perform.

"I've been everywhere in Europe, and I'm looking forward to going to Africa. I personally want to get all the ears I can get. That's my goal with the music."

All the touring doesn't mean Riley has stayed out of the studio completely. Without revealing too much, he confirmed enough material exists to release an acoustic album near the end of the year or early in 2012. He's also featured on Shaggy's latest album as a guest on "Just Another Girl," an experience Riley was more than happy to talk about.

"Shaggy, my bredren! Big him up! That's was a big deal for me, doing a song with him. He's got so many accomplishments. It was a good look," he said.

Fans at the Waterfront on Thursday can expect to hear some of the new material, but the majority of the concert will focus on sharing the good vibes off his first three albums. With his own band making the trip this time, more critical ears should be satisfied with the overall sound he's set to bring back to Hawaii.

"It's clean, it's positive, it's live and it's colorful," said Riley. "I want everyone to come to the concert. I really want to thank everyone. Thank you for supporting the music."


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

'Hawaii's Most Wanted'

Featuring Tarrus Riley

Presented by HI Rise Entertainment, EKM Records, Rusty Inc. and Hawaii's Finest

» Where: The Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace

» When: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 11

» Cost: $35

» Info:

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Oahu concert calendar grows

August 9th, 2011

A Flock of Seagulls, pictured, will be joined by When in Rome at the Hawaii Theatre on Sept. 9. (Courtesy photo)

Upcoming Concerts:

» Aug. 24: Paramore at the Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace

» Sept. 9: Godsmack at the Blaisdell Concert Hall; Groundation at the Waterfront; A Flock of Seagulls and When in Rome at Hawaii Theatre

» Sept. 10: All Time Low at Hawaii Theatre

» Sept. 24: Lil Wayne and Keri Hilson at Blaisdell Arena

» Sept. 29: 30 Seconds to Mars at the Waterfront

» Oct. 21: Wiz Khalifa at Blaisdell Arena

September and October are shaping up to be pretty good months for live music fans, with a variety of reggae, rock, hip-hop and old school bands set to perform in Honolulu.

The first big night will be Sept. 9, when four big name acts play at three different venues. Along with a previously announced Godsmack show at the Blaisdell Concert Hall, reggae favorites Groundation return for a concert at the Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace. They'll be joined by Ooklah the Moc, Dubkonscious and Guidance during the 18-and-over show; tickets are available now at all HIC Surf locations, the UH-Manoa Campus Center, Pipeline Smoke Shop, South Shore Glass and online at

The same night, BAMP Project and Acid Wash Live have teamed up to bring old school acts A Flock of Seagulls and When in Rome to the Hawaii Theatre. That show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets (priced at $25, $35 and $50) are available now at the Hawaii Theatre Box Office and online at

Wiz Khalifa. (Courtesy Lucky Man Hawaii)

BAMP also announced during last Friday's Incubus show at Kakaako Waterfront Park that 30 Seconds to Mars will return to Oahu at 8 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. Aug. 12; click here to purchase tickets online.

Hip-hop fans have a lot to look forward to, as well. Tickets are already on sale for the return of Lil Wayne and Keri Hilson to Blaisdell Arena; the two were last here in 2009 before Hilson's career took off, so it will be interesting to see how many more fans show up on Sept. 24.

Along with that concert, Lucky Man Concerts Hawaii has announced a Oct. 21 show by Wiz Khalifa, also at Blaisdell Arena. Tickets for that show go on sale at 9 a.m. Aug. 13 at all Ticketmaster outlets, the Blaisdell Box Office and online at

Time to start pinching those pennies, music lovers!


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

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Creed pulls ‘Vanishing Act’

August 5th, 2011

Creed Chameleon performs at Tropics Cafe Bar & Lounge. (Courtesy photo)

As the current wave of Hawaii-based hip-hop artists continues to swell, one of the scene's more well-known faces is keeping track of what's going on from thousands of miles away.

Creed Chameleon has represented the Hawaiian Islands to the fullest for the better part of a decade, with three full-length releases ("Love Potion Cyanide," "Siq of Lazy" and "The Ultimatum") to his credit and one of the state's more formidable labels (Flip the Bird Entertainment) in his corner. But like so many others in search of better opportunities, he decided to make the move across the Pacific Ocean, ending up in Phoenix, Ariz.

"I am … trying to delve into my new career, family, and hopefully more music endeavors," he explained. "Living in Hawaii was great, but I needed a new change of pace and get myself to seek new plateaus. And I think moving to the mainland will help me spread my music further and gain more fans than just in the islands."

Despite the move, Creed still considers himself a Hawaii hip-hop artist, mainly due to the subject matter of his rhymes — you can take the man from the island, but you can't take the island from the man — and his self-professed desire to keep it local.

"Does the mainland take away the island mentality? Most instances, it doesn't. (And the sense of) aloha is much more stronger," he said. "I believe the homies Fortilive are perfect examples of MCs from the islands who have paid their dues and are now doing big things on the mainland."

And after being on his grind in Honolulu the last few years, he's more than willing to let the next generation of local hip-hop artists get their shot.

Flip the Bird brethren Creed Chameleon, left, and Prie. (Courtesy photo)

"The scene in Hawaii has definitely grown, but I believe it's the youth who make it all much bigger," said Creed. "From artists like Prie and the Broke Mokes to the Ill Hill Society and Pro — as long as these cats pave the way and enlighten the upcoming youth, I believe the scene will continue to blow up.

"At the same time, the scene has got to unite and support each other so that the whole thing can flourish. It's gotten better in some ways, but the scene as a whole still needs work."

With "The Vanishing Act," Creed said his goal was to reflect on his move to the mainland and the associated lifestyle changes to his personal life that came along with it. It was also an opportunity for him to work with some of his friends and peers from the hip-hop industry both in Hawaii and elsewhere — along with production by local names like Osna and Bad News, the mixtape features a track produced by DJ Babu of Dilated Peoples plus guest verses by mainland-based MCs Copywrite, Dirtbag Dan and Mic Phenom.

"For the fans who have listened to my music before, this mixtape will still be the same type Creed Chameleon material that I usually do," he said. "It will just have more emotional content that I haven't really expressed in my past projects."

"The Vanishing Act" will be available Tuesday, Aug. 16, via; Creed will also have CD copies of his mixtape available a week earlier in Los Angeles, where he will perform during "L.A. Got Aloha" at Hollywood bar the Dragonfly on Aug. 9. He also plans to release at least one music video from the mixtape before settling into the recording studio to work on his next full-length album. Creed said his hope was to get the new album finished early next year in time for him to present it at the annual South by Southwest Music Festival.

Get a taste of what's to come — three tracks off the upcoming mixtape. Enjoy!


Jason Genegabus is Entertainment Editor/Online at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and has covered the local nightlife, music, bar and entertainment scenes since 2001. Contact him via email at

'The Vanishing Act'

Creed Chameleon (Flip the Bird)

Presented by Dissizit & Nakama; mixed by DJ Jimmy Taco

WARNING: Explicit lyrics

Creed Chameleon feat. Prie - "The World is Cold"


Creed Chameleon - "Bad News" (Produced by Bad News)


Creed Chameleon feat. I.A. and Kwalified - "I Be On That (Remix)" (Produced by Osna)

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