Archive for January, 2013

VIDEO: 2 Chainz at Aloha Tower

By
January 25th, 2013



VIDEO BY JASON GENEGABUS / jason@staradvertiser.com

Atlanta hip-hop artist 2 Chainz brought his “Based on a T.R.U. Story” tour to the Waterfront at Aloha Tower as part of the events surrounding the 2013 Pro Bowl on Thursday, Jan. 24.

Related Post:

PICS: 2 Chainz at Aloha Tower

Posted in Music, SA, Video | Comments Off on VIDEO: 2 Chainz at Aloha Tower

Sunset Room opens at Aloha Tower

By
January 23rd, 2013



<em>Guests enjoy one of the outdoor seating areas at the Sunset Room during the Aloha Tower Marketplace nightclub's grand opening party on Friday, Jan. 18. (Star-Advertiser File)</em>

Guests enjoy one of the outdoor seating areas at the Sunset Room during the Aloha Tower Marketplace nightclub's grand opening party on Friday, Jan. 18. (Star-Advertiser File)

With its time in Clubland potentially limited, the team behind the new Sunset Room at Aloha Tower Marketplace isn't wasting any time getting down to business.

Following a number of soft opening events over the last month, the second floor nightclub opened its doors to the general public with a pair of grand opening parties on Friday, Jan. 18, and Saturday, Jan. 19. However, efforts by Hawaii Pacific University to redevelop the area into student housing and other amenities may hamper any long-term plans to turn the 7,000 square-foot, indoor-outdoor space into much more than it already is.

Pillowtalk and 'High Society: Pro Bowl Edition'

» Where: The Sunset Room, Aloha Tower Marketplace, Second Floor

» When: 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 (Pillowtalk), and Saturday, Jan. 26 ('High Society')

» Cost: $20 general admission ($10 pre-sale tickets available)

» Info: store.amnights.com

Sunset Room co-owner Andreas Counnas made no attempt to avoid talking about the situation during an interview earlier this month.

"This is a short-term project," he said. "It's not really about money. It's about creating a space. It's a test to see what this market can handle and how a spot like this could work."

Counnas speaks from experience. The Denver native spent 11 years in Los Angeles promoting events at various nightclubs after getting his start working with Jason Mewes (of "Jay and Silent Bob" fame). Throwing parties with a movie star attracted other celebrities, which ended up getting him a job at the original Sunset Room in Hollywood.

"I started at the top," said Counnas. "We were making a killing and just chilling. And then it became a rat race. … The bubble burst."

After a short stint working as a personal assistant for MTV co-founder Les Garland, he found himself in Honolulu in Dec. 2011, promoting a pair of New Year's Eve parties in Chinatown. The Artist Movement then moved on to other parties in Waikiki and at the Waterfront at Aloha Tower.

"I stayed and did another event at RumFire with Taryn Manning, and then I did 'Passport' at Aloha Tower," Counnas said. "I really saw the potential out here. This is like L.A. about 10 years ago."

Trips to Canada and Mexico early last year only helped reinforce his interest in putting something together in Honolulu. Additional parties in Honolulu with DJ Colette at RumFire and Dash Berlin at the Waterfront confirmed there was a market here for the style of events he wanted to produce.

It also helped that Counnas discovered local afterhours spot The Asylum almost immediately after his arrival. What started as a friendship with Willis Haltom and Darren Zane turned into a working partnership that benefits from the pair's established track record of drawing big names in the electronic dance music scene. Co-owner Patrick Lam and Creative Director Tammy Shaffer round out the management team at the new club.

"Probably within two weeks of being out here … we kind of just became friends," said Counnas of Haltom and Zane. "And I'm a frequent visitor over there.

"I was looking for a scene in Miami. I was looking for a scene in Denver. Go-go dancers, bartenders, I was just looking for that scene. I couldn't find it in Miami. Maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough.

"When I got here, some friends said, 'let's go to an afterhours.' And I almost didn't go. But I went, and I was like, 'here's the scene.'"

Counnas also credited Rick Schneider and Events International for their operational support of the business, along with a number of other local staff hired to help get things started. While he probably could have brought in a number of former employees from Hollywood, Counnas expressed support for hiring local talent and a willingness to help train a new generation of nightlife industry employees.

"I'm a guest," he said. "I understand that and appreciate it and I love this place. This is going to be a predominantly local club."

<em>Sunset Room creative director Tammy Shaffer, right, with co-owners, from left, Willis Haltom, Darren Zane and Andreas Counnas. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jamm Aquino)</em>

Sunset Room creative director Tammy Shaffer, right, with co-owners, from left, Willis Haltom, Darren Zane and Andreas Counnas. (Star-Advertiser photo by Jamm Aquino)

THE BEST PART about the Sunset Room has to be its location, with both an indoor and outdoor experience available to the 21-and-over crowd. Overlooking Gordon Biesrch and the Honolulu Harbor waterfront, party people can head inside for a taste of the powerful Dynacord sound system and custom lighting installed by Haltom and Zane with the help of a few friends. The former restaurant space retains essentially the same layout, which actually works out just fine for a club setting as well.

What I like is the flow of the room — you're encouraged to walk inside and check out what's going on. If it's not your speed, just continue out another door, loop back around and a separate, open-air space is waiting with a completely different style of music. More importantly, there's another bar out there, too.

On Fridays, expect electronic music indoors and hip-hop beats outside. The format flips on Saturdays, with hip-hop in the main room and EDM on the lanai. Doors open at 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with a $20 cover in effect most nights; bottle service starts at $250.

"The goal of this space is to get the location, the music and the people all in the same place," said Counnas. "The biggest high you'll ever feel (as a promoter) is when you get that match of location, music and people.

"It sounds really simple, but it's almost impossible to do."

———

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.

Posted in Bars & Clubs, Latest News, SA | Comments Off on Sunset Room opens at Aloha Tower

Mai Tai, Red Bull DJ battles return

By
January 18th, 2013



<em>DJ Technique, third from right, acknowledges the Mai Tai Bar crowd after winning the bar's DJ competition for the second year in a row. (Star-Advertiser File)</em>

DJ Technique, third from right, acknowledges the Mai Tai Bar crowd after winning the bar's DJ competition for the second year in a row. (Star-Advertiser File)

Next week will be a fun one for DJs and those who support our local party rockers, as both the Mai Tai Bar's "Hot Island DJ Spin-Off" and Red Bull's "Thre3style" competitions get underway.

Now in its fifth year, the "Hot Island DJ Spin-Off" has established itself as a proving ground for DJs in Honolulu, with entrants spanning various genres and experience levels for a shot at more than $5,000 in cash and prizes. Last year, DJ Technique took first place for the second year in a row.

I've judged this contest multiple times, and it's always a blast to see our local talent bring their best efforts to the Mai Tai Bar stage at Ala Moana Center.

When the first of four preliminary rounds start at 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20, competitors will be evaluated in five categories:

» Creativity (originality of performance and remixes)

» Music Selection/Programming (Choice of music that moves the crowd)

» Mix Ability/Smoothness (Quality of blends and transitions from song to song)

» Showmanship

» Crowd Response

According to organizers, there are still a limited number of openings left for this year's contest. Call (808) 864-8184 or email ben@tihati.com for more details.

Later next week, five hand-picked contestants will step behind the decks at Ginza Nightclub, 1230 Kona St., for the chance to advance to the west coast regionals in Red Bull's "Thre3style" DJ competition.

While Ginza is typically a place you visit well after midnight, be sure to get there before 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, to see DJs Packo, Kowai Kowai, Mike D, SSSOLUTION and last year's Hawaii sub-qualifier winner, DJ Compose, face off with a trip to Seattle on the line.

Here's how it works, according to a Red Bull press release:

The competition series, which will be hosted in more than 20 countries, kicks off in the U.S. this month with qualifying battles in more than 25 cities. Hundreds of DJs hand-picked by curators will battle their way through a series of competitions in the hopes of landing the coveted title of Red Bull "Thre3style" national champion.

Local qualifiers are currently underway with remaining battles in Cleveland, New Orleans, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Seattle, Pittsburg, Detroit, San Diego Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Austin, Kansas City, Charlotte, Nashville, Brooklyn, Chicago and Orlando.

Winners of these local qualifiers will advance to the regional qualifiers in Philadelphia, Miami, Dallas, Seattle and Chicago where their performances will be judged by the world-renowned DJs Jazzy Jeff, Z-Trip and A-Track. Regional winners will meet in Los Angeles in April at the Red Bull "Thre3style" national finals to determine the best open format DJ and who will represent the USA in the world finals.

According to Red Bull, competitors will get 15 minutes to play a minimum of three different genres of music. They'll be judged on track selection, creativity, mixing skills, stage presence and crowd reaction. For the Hawaii sub-regional, local DJs Jimmy Taco, G-Spot and Delve will judge; Flash Hansen will host the event.

Of the five DJs chosen to compete this year in Hawaii, three of them (Mike D, SSSOLUTION and Compose) are returnees from 2012 inaugural contest. Last year's USA champion, DJ Four Color Zack, is no stranger to the local club scene either, having made several appearances in Honolulu over the last few years.

Want to check out the battle? Click here for free tickets.

———

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.

Posted in Bars & Clubs, SA | Comments Off on Mai Tai, Red Bull DJ battles return

Matty Wong heads for Hollywood

By
January 7th, 2013



<em>Matty Wong, saxophonist for The Deadbeats and commercial actor. (Courtesy Tracy Wright Corvo)</em>

Matty Wong, saxophonist for The Deadbeats and commercial actor. (Courtesy Tracy Wright Corvo)

Tonight is your last chance to hang out with Matty Wong for a while, as the popular saxophonist and commercial actor makes his final preparations for a move to Los Angeles this week.

Even if you don't know Wong, there's a pretty good chance you'd recognize him — along with blowing his horn as part of local band The Deadbeats, he's also appeared in a variety of local television commercials for companies like Pizza Hut Hawaii, Burger King Hawaii and Oceanic Time Warner Cable.

'Bye Bye Matty Wong'

» Where: Lulu's Waikiki, 2586 Kalakaua Ave.

» When: 6 to 10 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7

» Cost: No cover

» Info: 926-5222

The 24-year-old Kalani High School graduate transitioned a few years ago from working a valet job to living solely off his income as a musician, but he realizes the next challenge he faces is in Hollywood.

"I gotta go do work on a bigger stage," Wong said by phone last weekend. "That's where the cheese is.

"I genuinely don't want to be in L.A. I want to be here. But I just know that's where I have to go. I want to go and do work, build up my name, and hopefully come home."

Describing himself as a lifelong performer, Wong started singing at the age of six and later moved into acting. He also attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa and studied film, but his budding music career pulled him out of the classroom and onto the stage — first as a member of Lost at Sea, then as one of The Deadbeats after joining that band four years ago.

"I have my fingers dipped in a bunch of different things, but everything is in the entertainment industry," he said. "I've put enough good energy out there. So now I just need to let things happen."

That means packing up and moving to California, where Wong hopes to capitalize on connections he's made over the years to help get him started.

If everything goes well, he'll be able to continue doing many of the same things he's done in Hawaii — film, television, radio and music — just on a bigger stage. And despite the move, he will remain a member of The Deadbeats and join the band later this year when they embark on a mainland tour. If they get accepted to the annual South by Southwest Music Festvial, The Deadbeats will play a series of dates in and around Austin, Texas; if they don't get invited to SXSW, Wong said the band will likely tour California later this year.

"There's still more to come from The Deadbeats," said Wong. "I'm going to be back and forth. Ideally, if I can start making enough income to hold my place in L.A., I can keep coming back and forth. That way I can get my food and fishing fix!"

<em>The Deadbeats perform at The Republik in November. (Star-Advertiser File)</em>

The Deadbeats perform at The Republik in November. (Star-Advertiser File)

From 6 to 10 p.m. tonight, Wong will play one last set with former Lost at Sea bandmate Jason Laeha at Lulu's Waikiki. The pair have held down the bar's industry night there for a while; Laeha will continue as a solo act there once Wong moves to California.

Tonight, however, will provide an opportunity for friends and family to hang out one last time before he leaves.

"A bunch of my musician friends are coming down to jam," Wong said. "It's just bye bye for now, I guess. That's all it is. It's not like I'm leaving forever."

———

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.

Posted in Bars & Clubs, SA | Comments Off on Matty Wong heads for Hollywood

Recent Posts

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories