Archive for November, 2011

A new Addiction arrives in Waikiki

By
November 30th, 2011



These promotional images are the only pictures released by Addiction Nightclub since its soft opening earlier this month; the Pulse was not allowed to take any photos during a visit a few weeks ago. It's a sure bet the room won't be anywhere near this empty during this week's grand opening festivities. (Courtesy Addiction Nightclub)

These promotional images are the only pictures released by Addiction Nightclub since its soft opening earlier this month; the Pulse was not allowed to take any photos during a visit a few weeks ago. It's a sure bet the room won't be anywhere near this empty during tomorrow

BY JASON GENEGABUS / jason@staradvertiser.com

After quietly launching its soft opening earlier this month, the nightclub at the Modern Honolulu is set for a grand opening party tomorrow, Dec. 1.

Addiction Nightclub and Beach Club replaces Crazybox at the hotel and will be open for business from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. The Beach Club will take over the Sunset Pool Deck from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, starting Dec. 4.

While the vast majority of staff at the club are former Crazybox employees, there were significant changes made at the management level.

The Modern's new director of nightlife is Matt Bendik, who was managing partner at VOYEUR in West Hollywood, Calif. before getting the call to relocate his core team to Honolulu. He previously served as vice president of development for the Light Group in Las Vegas, and also has nightlife experience in New York City and Dubai. He is joined by assistant director of nightlife Tyler Dickinson, public relations and special events director Karl Singer and VIP hostess Kristina Welker.

As is often the case, it didn't take much to convince this crew that Waikiki was the place to be.

"When I came out, I really fell in love with the island and the culture," Bendik said earlier this week. "I worked with some of the (Modern's) owners on a hotel program in Vegas several years ago and they were having some issues getting the nightclub reopened, so they asked me to come out and take a look and give them some advice."

Once they arrived, the four got to work on the best way to reposition and relaunch the nightclub. What Bendik quickly discovered, however, was there wasn't much to be done when it came to staffing and design.

"I'd say 90 to 95 percent of the staff is the same, and they've been great," he said. "I was prepared to rebuild the entire nightclub, but I was really kind of pleasantly surprised. They've really enabled me to focus on the programming.

"We made a few minor tweaks … but for the most part it's all the same. We have implemented some design changes, (but) I wouldn't go so far as to call them major. We added some projection, so there's some images on the walls. At the backbar we added some digital video frames."

This stunning lighting element will remain a focal point of the room at Addiction.

This stunning lighting element will remain a focal point of the room at Addiction. (Courtesy Addiction Nightclub)

And what about that incredible lighting display that was the centerpiece of Crazybox? Contrary to previous reports, it didn't need to be removed after all.

"They're so beautiful," said Bendik of the thousands of light bulbs. "I had to leave them!"

THE BIGGEST change at Addiction is the seating; instead of bleachers, more traditional banquettes have been installed. The switch "made the space a lot more intimate" and allows for staff to provide "high-end service" to customers. With a capacity of just 250 people, reserving a VIP table with bottle service is the recommended way to best experience what the nightclub has to offer, although Bendik insisted a "New York mindset" would not keep Hawaii residents from being able to party there.

"I'm not trying to force other markets into a new market," he said. "From a service standpoint, there's a standard that should be met … so you'll see some influences. (But) we like a nice healthy mix of different demographics."

Don't want to spend big bucks on your own private party area at Addiction? Get friendly with the resident DJs from the Nocturnal Sound Krew or someone who works at the club. They'll be able to add your name to a guest list that will get you past Welker at the front door with no cover charge — as long as there is room inside. Hotel guests will also receive complimentary access.

One of the VIP seating areas inside Addiction. (Courtesy Addiction Nightclub)

One of the VIP seating areas inside Addiction. (Courtesy Addiction Nightclub)

Otherwise, guests can expect to pay $20 at the door (ladies get a $10 discount). If you get tired of standing in line waiting for people to leave, you may want to reconsider going the VIP route; Welker can facilitate walk-up reservations on a space-avaialble basis.

"Your best bet is to dress nice, show up early and come with an even ratio (of girls to guys)," said Bendik. "But if you know any of the DJs or any of the staff, it's going to be really easy to get access."

There is no cover charge for the Sunday afternoon Addiction parties, although you must RSVP in advance to reservations@addictionnightclub.com. This will help keep the crowd under control, while also providing local residents a shot at joining the party. (VIP reservations for both the nightclub and beach club may be made using the same e-mail address.)

ALONG WITH their own resident DJs, the club will fly in special guests to complement the entertainment lineup, starting with DJ Miles this week and DJ Savi next week. DJ Spider will be the featured guest Dec. 15-17, and DJ Sid Vicious will fly in to help pump things up heading into the club's big New Year's Eve celebration promoted by Flash & Matty Boy Productions' Flash Hansen and Architechs Entertainment's Blaise Sato on Dec. 31.

"We're not a promoter-driven venue … but for New Year's, I just signed a contract with Flash and Blaise, so we're collaborating to create a really awesome party," Bendik said. "We have some really cool things coming up that weekend at the Lobby Bar, pool deck, (the Modern's) ballroom and the club."

As our conversation wrapped up, there was one last question that needed to be answered. Is this new look at Addiction a temporary thing? Once the club got back on its feet, would Bendik simply pack up and move on to the next challenge?

"When we signed a contract, it was open-ended without a timeframe," he replied. "I look at Hawaii as a long-term thing. I think it's a great market and it's under-served.

"We really want to put together things that people are going to talk about. At the same time, I don't want people to think this is a mainland club. It's really not. We're just enhancing it. People will come and experience it and get the right impression."

———

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 jason@staradvertiser.com.

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‘Mai Tai Rumble’ finals set

By
November 27th, 2011



Cradle 2 Grave took first place in the Open Mic category of the second round semi-finals on Tuesday, Nov. 22. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Cradle 2 Grave took first place in the Open Mic category of the second round semi-finals on Tuesday, Nov. 22. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

After a strong showing by six of Hawaii's up-and-coming bands, the final four acts in this year's "Mai Tai Rumble" are set to compete for a share of $30,000 in cash and prizes.

Members of the reggae band Pu'ali pose for a photo following their performance at the Mai Tai Bar on Tuesday, Nov. 22. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

Members of the reggae band Pu'ali pose for a photo following their performance at the Mai Tai Bar on Tuesday, Nov. 22. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jason Genegabus)

The annual battle of the bands, now in its 11th year, consistently draws some of Honolulu's most talented musicians in two categories: Open Mic and Island/Reggae. Preliminary rounds started on Oct. 4 at the Mai Tai Bar at Ala Moana Center with Island 98.5's Phat Joe hosting the competition.

Vinyl Wine and JahLivity advanced to the finals after winning their respective categories during the first round semi-finals last month. On Tuesday, Nov. 24, yours truly joined Hawaii Pacific Entertainment's Lincoln Jacobe and Anheuser-Busch Sales of Hawaii Director of Marketing James Baloaloa to judge the second semi-final round. In a tightly-contested battle, local rockers Cradle 2 Grave and reggae band Pu'ali were chosen to compete in the finals, which take place next Tuesday, Nov. 29.

In addition to the competition, the Mai Tai Bar features an "Aftershock" concert with various local bands; Natural Vibrations will perform next week following the final "Mai Tai Rumble" performances of 2011.

———

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 jason@staradvertiser.com.

Related Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqEHQavQd7w

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Slapp Symphony drops new compilation CD

By
November 25th, 2011



While most of the island was getting ready for the long Thanksgiving weekend, Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated production duo Slapp Symphony were still on their grind.

'Drown 'Em in Beats, Save 'Em With Rhymes

Slapp Symphony (Slapp Symphony Music Group)

www.slappsymphony.com

Leti "Let-T-Let" Leti and James Westbrook stopped by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newsroom on Wednesday, Nov. 23, to hand-deliver a copy of their new compilation CD, "Drown 'Em in Beats, Save 'Em With Rhymes," and talk about their collaboration with the Nocturnal Sound Krew on the project.

With Slapp Symphony's beats providing the foundation for each of the album's 10 tracks, "Drown 'Em…" is a showcase of various Hawaii-based recording artists they believe best represent the different sounds our islands have to offer. From reggae and gospel to hip-hop and R&B, Leti and Westbrook speak softly and let their beats do the talking.

Tracks have been leaked from the album since May, when Kimie Miner's "Is This Love" hit the airwaves on local radio stations and also got airplay in Australia, New Zealand and Paupa New Guinea. Other songs have showed up on local hip-hop radio shows, including 102.7 Da Bomb's "Mind Tactics" with DJ Jimmy Taco and KTUH's "Got Rice? Show" with DJ Bone.

Slapp Symphony gets work done in the studio. (Courtesy Slapp Symphony)

Slapp Symphony gets work done in the studio. (Courtesy Slapp Symphony)

The latest single to drop is "Ice Palace," a realistic look at Hawaii's meth problem, which Slapp Symphony hopes to use as a strong anti-drug message in working with groups like the Hawaii Meth Project and the E Ola Kahiau Foundation.

"Drown 'Em in Beats, Save 'Em With Rhymes" was released today, with CDs available at local retailers Fitted Hawaii, Prototype, In4mation and Kicks Hawaii; the album is also currently available for purchase online via iTunes and other sites.

Along with sharing a few unreleased samples from the compilation, Leti and Westbrook spoke about their experiences producing the album, what it means to have sound engineers Tatsuya Sato and Jay Franco of New York City's Stirling Sound working with them on the project and more.

Interview Clips:

Clip #1 - The Interview Process
[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111125_01_slapp_recording.mp3]

Clip #2 - The Mastering Process
[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111125_02_slapp_mastering.mp3]

Clip #3 - "It's All Different"
[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111125_03_slapp_flow.mp3]

Clip #4 - Getting Mainland Exposure
[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111125_04_slapp_exposure.mp3]

Clip #5 - "It's Mature Music"
[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111125_05_slapp_mature.mp3]

Clip #6 - Favorite Tracks
[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111125_06_slapp_tracks.mp3]

Song Samples:

Sylen and Maryanne - "Can't Let Go"
[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111125_slapp_cantletgo.mp3]

Kaipo Kapua and C-Gutta - "L.O.V.E."
[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111125_slapp_love.mp3]

Leti Twins feat. Let-T-Let - "Thank You Lord"
[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111125_slapp_thankyoulord.mp3]
———
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 jason@staradvertiser.com.

Modern Honolulu reopens nightclub

By
November 5th, 2011



After a messy corporate takeover and rebranding, the hotel now known as the Modern Honolulu has reopened its signature nightclub in Waikiki.

The space that used to be Crazybox was open for business last weekend — and according to sources, the general public was allowed inside — although a hotel employee said Thursday the club was only open for a "private party" on Oct. 28. The employee also confirmed a "soft opening" would take place Thursday night, with former Crazybox resident DJs ESKAE, Compose and Anit back in action.

The dance floor was packed at Crazybox during Rev. Run's birthday celebration at the nightclub in 2010. (Courtesy photo)

Their return was a bit of a surprise, given all the bitterness that erupted on various social media networks when real estate developer Ian Schrager's EDITION brand was ousted by Marriott International and renamed the Modern. Former EDITION employees banded together in solidarity, creating a Facebook page and voicing support for efforts to get them back to work at their old jobs.

Unfortunately, that hasn't happened — and at first, the backlash was pretty nasty. The Modern's new management company, Aqua Hotels & Resorts, bore the brunt of former employees' frustrations. When the Modern was forced to temporarily stop selling alcohol while they reapplied for a liquor license, some tried to infer the paperwork issue was a larger indicator of the new hotel's inability to survive the changes.

At Crazybox, the doors remained closed longer than any other venue at the hotel. According to sources, the nightclub's name and even some of its interior design features are trademarked and may need to be changed before it can officially reopen. The management switch also meant former EDITION director of nightlife operations Laura Modica was no longer involved with the club; she has since relocated from Honolulu to Chicago, where she remains employed by Schrager at his new hotel, Public Chicago.

"Let's just say it's not (Crazybox) if Laura Modica (isn't) running it," wrote DJ ESAKE, aka Steven Kanemoto, in an Aug. 31 update posted to Twitter and directed at this reporter. He declined comment Friday when asked about his return to the club.

A public relations representative for the Modern also didn't provide much detail Friday when asked about operations at the newly reopened nightspot, confirming only that the space was open for business from 10:30 p.m to 3 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and that "familiar bartenders and DJs" were back at work.

Still, it appears the club doesn't yet have an actual name. And while a grand opening party is tentatively planned for Dec. 1, "all programming and services are being fine-tuned" with "enhancements still in the works" throughout November.
———
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 jason@staradvertiser.com.

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The Throwdowns return to Oahu

By
November 3rd, 2011



The Throwdowns were joined by Marty Dread, right, during their Maui CD release party in August. (Star-Advertiser file)

After releasing their new album, "Legs of Our Own," and hosting a CD release party on their home island of Maui in August, the Throwdowns are ready to head back to Oahu. Led by vocalist/guitarist Erin Smith, the band will be in Waikiki on Friday, Nov. 4, for the official HIC Triple Crown Pro party at the Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu.

'The Throwdowns CD Release Party'

» Where: Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu, 280 Beach Walk Ave.

» When: 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4

» Cost: No cover (21+)

» Info: 955-7383 or www.facebook.com/thethrowdownsmaui

Smith checked in from Maui last week to talk story about the band's new material, the difference between "Legs of Our Own" and their previous release, "Don't Slow Down," and what else the band will be doing in Honolulu while they're in town.

She was also gracious enough to share a few tracks off the new album with Pulse readers; check them out along with a video for their single, "Shake Your Bones," below.

QUESTION: The EP you guys released in 2010 was "Don't Slow Down." The Throwdowns have really taken that to heart in 2011, huh?

ANSWER: It felt like we were slowing down, to me. I didn't think we were ready to make another record, but we did.

"Don't Slow Down" was great and we were getting lots of really awesome opportunities, but the general consensus in the band was that we needed a full-length album to take advantage of those opportunities. We wanted to put our best foot forward.

Q: Creatively speaking, is there a big difference between "Legs of Our Own" and "Don't Slow Down," or is just an extension of what you guys were already doing?

A: We already had most of the material, but we did some tweaking. I think the big change is the whole punk versus pop thing. It's a lot more pop than "Don't Slow Down." It's still got some drive to it, but then there's also a more polished vibe. It's definitely a lot less raw.

It's more refined, I'd say. We're not a pop band. We're rock and pop with some reggae influence. We were just looking for the broadest sound for what we do.

I'm even jumping around a little less on stage to make sure it sounds good!

Erin Smith performs during the Throwdowns' Maui CD release party in August. (Star-Advertiser file)

Q: I'm familiar with how hard it is to be a musician on Oahu, let alone on Maui. How does a rock band like the Throwdowns keep busy on Maui? Do you get a lot of hometown support?

A: Oh yeah, Maui's great. They're always in our corner. It seems like on Maui, there's been a definite kick start to the rock scene over here. It just feels like there's a surge happening. So we're trying to push the boundaries of what you can do as a rock band from Hawaii.

But we don't play that much on Maui. It's not like Oahu where you can play a bunch and hit a bunch of people and expand your fan base. We don't play a lot because you can burn out real quick. Our focus is on the mainland. We want to go that way.

Q: Anything lined up for the mainland that you can talk about?

A: We're just kind of trying to play our cards the smart way. It's all about working with the bands we already know. We might be at SXSW (next year). We're talking it out right now. We're cautious about that stuff. We're all about having a game plan, but we're also cautious about what we spend our money on.

Our theory is, you can just go and do something, or you can club someone over the head with the biggest thing you've got and make a big splash. We're more in that second category.

Q: What do fans have to look forward to in Waikiki this weekend?

A: Well, the Hard Rock show is free! I'm kinda stoked about that. It's also HIC's Triple Crown Pro party, so we'll have the surfers there. And we're going to do the Road Runner Music Hall before that. It's gonna be broadcast live on Star1019.com at 2 p.m.

It's been a long time since we've headlined our own show, so I think it's going to be good. We've got a new set and new songs and we're stoke to share them with everybody. And we got some of the Maui crew coming over, so it should be fun.

Q: What else is coming up for the band?

A: In November we'll be continuing to Kona and Kauai for the CD release tour. And then we're going to do a Maui show in December and take a few weeks to chill. The new year has some exciting stuff, but I'm not really supposed to talk about it yet.

———

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 jason@staradvertiser.com.

The Throwdowns - "Stay HI (feat. Marty Dread)"

[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111030_stayhi.mp3]

The Throwdowns - "I'm a Warrior"

[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111030_imawarrior.mp3]

The Throwdowns - "On the Radio"

[audio: http://www.honolulupulse.com/wp-content/audio/20111030_ontheradio.mp3]

Related Video:

Posted in Audio, Bars & Clubs, Latest News, Music, SA, Video | Comments Off on The Throwdowns return to Oahu

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