Pulse Picks: Music, comedy and a birthday

Feb. 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

The Manifest goes ‘Avant Gard’

The indie band i tramonti (Courtesy Shirley Lam)

Indie band i tramonti. (Courtesy Shirley Lam)

OK, despite the misspelling, we get the intention of the “Avant Gard DIY Music Series” coming up tonight, Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Manifest in Chinatown. Promoters Corby Plumb and Jacoby Young are making it a point to put on interesting monthly shows not only at the Manifest, but the Mercury Bar as well.

“The shows are really rad,” said Paul Bajcar, whose band i tramonti will be part of the Thursday lineup. “It’s one of the few all-ages shows, and they make it a point to get different kinds of bands you don’t see too often together.”

First on the bill is Travis D Wiggins’ self-described “synth weirdo music” project, Dream Dragons, as he presents his “conceptual psych-pop suite” with the hopeful title of “Tomorrow We Are Going to Meet Some People From Outer Space.”

For a taste of Wiggins’ art damage music, download his free album, “5 Minutes With ….”

The rest of the evening promises a variety of other music with i tramonti (band members include Paul Bajcar of Clones of the Queen and Alex Nagata, who also plays with Wiggins in Coral Stabz) and its take on ’90s indie-influenced rock, hardcore shenanigans from the Pharoahs, and the blissfully epic sounds of At Sea with frontwoman Yvonne Harada.

Since this is an all-ages show, things kick off at 7 p.m. It’s free, but the evening’s talent will welcome donations. The Manifest is located at 32 N. Hotel St.

— Gary Chun, gchun@staradvertiser.com

ATOS Trio is high-strung

The ATOS Trio: Thomas Hoppe, Annette von Hehn, Stefan Heinemeyer

The ATOS Trio: Thomas Hoppe, Annette von Hehn, Stefan Heinemeyer. (Courtesy photo)

Finding the right partners in work and life can be complicated, but the ATOS Trio has turned out to be “a dream formation,” said Thomas Hoppe, pianist for the German-based group.

“To have a violin and a cello and a piano, it leaves you enough space to feel and play soloistic, and but it’s still real chamber music,” Hoppe said in a phone call from Hilo, where the group is making its Hawaii debut before coming to Oahu for a performance at the Honolulu Museum of Art on Saturday, Feb. 4.

“If you have a team that gets along on a personal level, you have many years of time to form a sound and work on details. That is what makes us different than other groups where you have three soloists who come together to rehearse for awhile and then part ways again.”

The approach has worked for ATOS. First formed in 2003, the group, which includes violinist Annette von Hehn and cellist Stefan Heinemeyer, has had a spectacular rise, receiving the prestigious Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Award for trios and competitions in Austria and Australia in just four years. The latter contest was particularly noteworthy because it had awards in separate categories, which many contests do in order to spread the glory to several winners. ATOS swept them.

Hoppe and von Hehn knew each other from studies in the United States—they both attended Juilliard and the Aspen Institute—and after one meeting with Heinemeyer, found themselves asking each other, “Do you guys really want to do this? Do we really want to pull this through? Much like a marriage proposal,” Hoppe said.

Like any marriage, they have arguments, but like a good one, they manage to work things out.

“They always, always remain professional,” Hoppe said. It helps that everyone in the group has an understanding of each other’s instruments — Hoppe double-majored in cello, and von Hehn and Heinemeyer can play piano.

Their program here will feature the gamut of piano-trio music: a trio from Haydn, “the first composer who really wrote trios,” and a Schubert trio that is “one of the masterworks of the piano-trio literature,” Hoppe said, adding that it is worthy of a saying about Schubert he “is the one that in one step can get from heaven to the corner pub.”

The concert concludes with a work by Shostokovich that Hoppe called “an emotional journey, and a heart-wrenching piece.”

“He worked up a lot of impressions of the Second World War,” he said. “There is no chance for an encore, because after that, what are you going to play?”

The concert also will feature a rare opportunity to hear a Stradivarius violin, which von Hehn has on loan from the estate of Yfrah Neaman, a well-known violin virtuoso and teacher.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, with a pre-concert meet-and-greet at 6:30 p.m. at the Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Museum of Art, 900 S. Beretania St. (entrance on Kinau). Tickets are $45. Click here or call 532-8768 for information and to buy tickets.

—Steven Mark, smark@staradvertiser.com

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Laughs … and waffles!

On the Spot's Garrick Pakai, center and troupe members in 'Hush.' (Courtesy photo)

On the Spot's Garrick Paikai, center, and troupe members in 'Hush.' (Courtesy photo)

Improv group On The Spot is celebrating its 11th anniversary.

“I admit it’s a surprise,” said leader Garrick Paikai. “I think our longevity is the ability to do various types of improv, which is pretty rare nationally. Because of that, our current lineup (that includes Alissa Joy Lee, Jordan Savusa and Rod Cachola) really stands out when we go to places like Austin, Phoenix and Chicago.”

The anniversary celebration, happening Saturday, Feb. 4, at the ARTS at Marks Garage, will be a fundraiser for On the Spot’s upcoming mainland tour, which will culminate at the prestigious Seattle Festival of Improv Theater from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19. The group will perform its silent movie improv show, “Hush,” which it will also do in Seattle.

Also performing Saturday will be fellow improv group Chocolate Squirrel, and two of OTS’ student groups, Sucker Punch and the Hi-Lo Show Featuring Sheldon and Kristine.

And in the spirit of last year’s weenie roast afterparty, this year all-you-can-eat toaster waffles will be served.

“We bought cases of the stuff at Costco,” Paikai said. It’s a 21-and-over get-together, since beer will be served. The show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, with doors open at 7. Tickets are $20, and will be available one hour before show time, or can be purchased in advance from brownpapertickets.com. Call (800) 836-3006 to purchase by phone.

The ARTS at Marks Garage is located at 1159 Nuuanu Ave.

— G.C.

Birthday music

Violinist Sydney Branch with her band Delayed Resistance (Courtesy Brandon Apeles)

Violinist Sydney Branch with her band Delayed Resistance. (Courtesy Brandon Apeles)

Brandon Apeles wants to do things right.

The musician and local independent manager has been gathering fellow musicians who he calls “my favorite artists in Hawaii,” and some of them will be in attendance at his 30th birthday party Tuesday night at Apartment3.

So far he’s got a client list of the bands Sing the Body and the Intire Project, and singer-songwriters Erika Elona and Jenna.

Apeles makes sure he works with musicians who are not only talented but dependable.

Janessa Marcos (Courtesy Brandon Apeles)

Janessa Marcos (Courtesy Brandon Apeles)

“Everyone’s rehearsing together on Friday,” he said. That includes Elona, Jenna, plus Zach Shimizu of Sing the Body, and Yoza, plus other performers getting their own showcase moments.

“The idea is to have these people do music that wouldn’t normally do otherwise,” said Apeles. “So there will be Jason Nomura of Mantra doing some Incubus and No Doubt; more pop stuff from Cassie Fillhart, formerly with Virgin Mary; 19-year-old singer and violinist Sydney Branch, who’s in this amazing new band, Delayed Resistance, made up mostly of high school kids from Schofield Barracks; and Janessa Marcos, the lead singer with this Paramore-sounding band Prevail.”

The accompanying house band will be made up of Eli Oguma, Shimizu’s duet partner in Sing the Body; Neal Chin from Sex Puppets; “hired gun” Alex Oasay; Max Benoit, formerly of Kings of Spade; and Shawn Livingston Moseley.

There will also be opening sets by Saving Cadence and the debut of Broke Aesthetic, a power trio made up of Chin, Benoit and Mike Nakamoto, formerly of the Hollow Spheres.

“They do this combination of jazz and Red Hot Chili Peppers-type rock,” Apeles said.

He also wanted to make mention of an upcoming compilation he and Moseley produced, titled “Alternative HI,” “with 18 of the best music acts from Hawaii, including Mano Kane, the Intire Project, and Sabrina” (aka Honolulu Pulse blogger Sabrina Velazquez).

So join Apeles as he celebrates on Tuesday starting at 7 p.m. at Apartment3, located on the 3rd floor of Century Center, 1750 Kalakaua Ave. It’s no cover, 21 and over, and Apeles requests that guests “dress nice.”

– G.C.

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