Category Archives: Venue

Tahiti Rey & Jason Alan @ Apartm3nt

What an absolute treat this concert was. Situated in the most chic bar I’ve been in Honolulu so far, this duo really captivated me.

Apartm3nt is a very in, trendy and lounge-y bar, where Johnny Depp has been spotted numerous times. It is very inconspicuous, situated on the 3rd floor of a somber building just outside of the city’s center. It is dark, yet cosy –  there was even a fireplace with logs burning, which added a comfortable Christmas touch to the evening. The drinks menu offered an eclectic choice of mouthwatering cocktails, and some extremely tasty wines. Gourmet food is also conveniently served until 12.30AM.

The duo were setting up when I had arrived, and began playing on time at 8PM. Both on electro-acoustic guitars and microphones. Tahiti Rey’s custom made golden glittery guitar strap caught my eye, and suited her style so perfectly. This curly haired attractive lady knows how to sing. She has a spectacular voice, a really magical presence, and covers songs in such a way that honestly gave me goosebumps. I found her voice entrancing, and thought to myself as soon as she started singing that I could stay and listen to her all night. Which is precisely what I did.

Her partner, Jason Alan, was also gifted. His guitar strumming was particularly good, and despite his illness – he admitted to having a cold and flu like symptoms and was sipping tea at the bar before playing the sets – he did a great job at singing and performing. You could hear there was a bit of a blocked nose or something sickness-related going on with his vocal chords, but you could also tell that behind that was true talent.

They were inspiring – they played a few of their own of their compositions, but mainly excellent covers. The Fugees, Bob Marley, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Adele, Coldplay, Louis Armstrong, all sorts – and beautifully each time. They took requests, and played for a couple of girls’ in the bar who were celebrating their birthdays. The time they played really flew by. They took two breaks, played three sets, and it was already 11PM by the time they had finished.

I was lucky enough to get chatting with Jason Alan, who not only is a great musician (with a Bachelor degree in Music Composition might I add), he has also a very kind spirited personality. He was fascinated by my travels, and it seemed it was really him who began interviewing me, and not the other way round! Very flattering. Despite everything, I managed to get quite a few bits of interesting info from him…

Tahiti and himself play as a duo as they share the same producer. They now have a habit of playing together. He gave me their sepia colored business card, which looks fantastic and really suits their laid-back easy-listening style.

They had just come back from the Philippines, where they were invited to play for DJ Vice’s wedding (a well-know DJ from LA). Jason told me they had an absolute blast. And during their performance last night, Tahiti introduced the song they played apparently as the couple were marching down the wedding alley to exchange vows. It was indeed a stunning song.

Tahiti and Jason play on average about 5 to 6 times a week in Waikiki, in many different bars and venues. I was not surprised to hear this, as I can understand their popularity. Jason introduced me to Rob, a friend of his who apparently is also a keen music-scene discoverer, and comes to listen to the duo every Wednesday there at Apartm3nt. He seemed very enthusiastic about me having discovered them too, and also recommend I look out for Yoza, another talented musician who is playing at the Hard Rock Café this Saturday. Great!

What else to say? I’ve summed it up: Tahiti and Jason are absolutely great. I loved their performance, and it was delightful meeting and speaking with Jason.

Their website: http://tahitireyandjasonalan.com/

Apartm3nt’s website: http://apartmentthree.com/

Kailua Bay Buddies @ Jimmy Buffett’s at the Beachcomber

These guys are full of energy and good humor, they really lit up the night at Jimmy Buffett’s. They took requests, played a whole range of songs in a sort of island-rock style, did some interesting covers, got members of staff to come up and sing with them, had guests come up to – they were experienced and truly fun to watch.

The bar next to the stage became instantly more animated once the band played. The band’s drummer, also the lead singer, a rare site to see, joked around a lot with clients of the bar asking them for requests or suggestions for a genre of music. The band encouraged Jimmy Buffett’s clientele to dance, which actually very quickly happened, and a few couples and singles often came up to strut their moves infront of their stage.

It was a very convivial atmosphere – the stage was so close to the bar, the members of the band were very conversational, the bar tender was making excellent drinks and also entertaining us with bottle throwing tricks.

This was a nice laid back fun place to be on Friday night, and the music was just what one wants in that kind of setting – fun loving and upbeat.

Sizzling Sunday @ Zanzabar

I heard Zanzabar was the only real night club of Waikiki, so decided to check it out last night. I purposely picked Sunday because I wanted to see how crowded it would get on a week night. I researched before going, and found out that it was ‘Sizzling Sunday’ and that a couple of DJs were going to get the party going with all the latest hip-hop and pop hits.

I entered the very air-conditioned club around 11PM. It was a 10$ entry. The music was not blaring as loud as I was expecting, but that picked up as the night went on and people began to pile in. At 11PM, there were maybe 40 or 50 people in the not-so-big club. A few on the dance floor, a few around the bar, and some parties scattered round tables and chairs.

The music was OK. A blend of the latest hits, some good, some really cheesy and unworthy of the dance floor. Progressively, couples and singles of all adult ages from 18 to 50 I would say, came in to the club to strut their stuff on the floor. The music got louder, the DJs became more enthusiastic, the clubbers more tipsy, and the dancing became more expressive.

Around 12:30AM two hired not-so-dressed dancers stepped up onto their stages and energetically busted their moves for a good hour or so. The music got more interesting: more dance-y, faster rhythms, better blending of songs.

However, Sizzling Sunday ceased to sizzle around 1AM when most of the people began to depart or get tired. Interestingly, this is when the DJ chose to play some good dubstep, which personally got me to bust out my best most energetic moves of the night.

I’m sure the club gets very busy on weekend nights. It is a shame however that Waikiki is not equipped with more late night dancing facilities and more options. Perhaps because Waikiki’s tourists are predominantly couples, the city is not used to hosting people who want a bit more night life until the early hours of the morning?

Zanzabar’s website: http://zanzabarhawaii.com/

Mai Tai Bar

The Mai Tai Bar is certainly one of the fanciest venues I’ve been to yet. Situated right on Waikiki’s beach front, one can enjoy a sunset view and an excellent eclectic selection of cocktails.

I was there on Thursday’s early evening, before sun down, and a traditional Hawaiian duo band and hula dancer performed and serenaded us drinkers. The setting was excellent – relaxing calm swaying Hawaiian sounds accompanying the sun down the horizon until it disappeared to another side of the planet. Truly magical.

Obviously, one has to experience a hula type show at least once on one’s stay in Hawaii. It is such a fascinating dance – entrancing in its positivity and soft movements. Hula dancers are always very smiley, and in completely harmonious synchrony with the music. Their tropical movements and get-ups remind us of the natural organic beauty of the Hawaiian islands.

And what better way to enjoy a show like this than at the Mai Tai Bar, a truly splendid area to sit back and relax after whatever activities one has been venturing off on in Waikiki’s wilderness during the day. As previously mentioned, the cocktails are unique, and they offer some interesting wines too.

I highly recommend this bar, and coming to it before sundown. Check the website for live performances, and hopefully you will be just as content by your serenade as I was last Thursday evening. http://www.maitaibar.com/honolulu/about.php

Henry Kapono @ Duke’s Restaurant and Barefoot Bar

At 4pm on Sunday afternoon, a sound check began to resonate from Duke’s Bar. Upon asking some beach goers, it appeared the famous Henry Kapono and his band were going to play their usual Sunday set.

They started it off with an impressive Santana cover, and it married so well with the beautiful beach two steps behind the band and bar. The style of the band was eclectic to say the least: funky, upbeat, rock, reggae, easy-listening, punk, classic, even world. Each song encompassed a different genre, and the switch over was surprisingly smooth.

There was some true experience resonating from this band. After researching into the event, it transpires Henry Kapono plays every Sunday at Duke’s bar from 4 ’til 6, and even has a song called ”Duke’s On Sunday”. Brilliant.

I absolutely and highly recommend anyone on Waikiki beach on a Sunday to lounge back and have this band playing in your ears as you gaze out on to sea front, and progressively witness the sun set. It is a stunning view, and this music really adds a spot of magic to the whole thing.

Also, for those who want to dance it up after lazing around all day, there is ample room to strut one’s stuff on the dance floor, and sun dance.

An excellent show, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and bought me closer to Waikiki.

Henry Kapono’s website: http://www.henrykapono.com/