Do It! Sing the Body, Ohana Festival, more

Jan. 11, 2013 | 0 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
--Courtesy photo

--Courtesy photo

SATURDAY, JANUARY 12
Sing the Body strikes out on its own with a show at The Republik

In a relatively short time, Sing the Body has become one of Hawaii’s top alternative rock acts. The group won the local edition of Hard Rock Cafe’s Battle of the Bands and has opened for mainland acts including The Shins and Airborne Toxic Event.

Now Zack Shimizu, right, and Eli Ogumi, an unusual duo, are headlining their own show at The Republik.

Aside from the quality of the music, part of Sing the Body’s charm is that both members play several instruments — and slip seamlessly between them midsong.

Shimizu mostly sings and plays the guitar and uke but occasionally takes a turn at the keyboard.

Ogumi will beat a snare with one hand, play the keyboard with the other, drive a foot pedal-driven tambourine and sing at the same time.

Shimizu and Ogumi played in a cover band together but wanted to try their hand at writing their own material, sensing that their contrasting musical tastes might work well together.

“I like more the mellow stuff, and Eli’s more into the heavy rock kind of stuff,” Shimizu said. “It’s kind of a blend between those two worlds, and it turns into this — I guess it’s rock but I just don’t really know.”

They would have been happy just to play open-mic events but got a great reception when they did, which Shimizu said was “totally unexpected.”

“Things have been getting added on every time, and the sound has been getting bigger and bigger, but we’re just making our jobs a lot harder every time,” Shimizu said.

The band will be debuting material from a soon-to-be-released album, appropriately titled “Contrasts.”

“It’s kind of a lot of pressure for us,” Shimizu said. “We get to use all the tools the club has to offer. Before, you just get the stage and you turn on the sound and go ahead. But now we’re going to try to dial in everything. … Everything’s going to be planned out, and hopefully we execute it.”

Where: The Republik, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $10
Info: www.flavorus.com or 855-235-2867

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--Courtesy photo

‘Intergalactic Nemesis’ combines acting, comics

Golly, gee whiz! Old-style cornball fun gets an update with “The Intergalactic Nemesis” touching down at Kennedy Theatre on Saturday.

The show, featured on “Conan” last year, is a “live-action graphic novel,” said creator Jason Neulander. The production consists of three actors, a pianist and a sound-effects specialist onstage performing an adventure story about alien monsters invading Earth. Meanwhile, comic book-style images of the story will be projected behind them. (Think Stan Lee meets Garrison Keillor.)

The production got started as a radio play airing in Austin, Texas. When the show got invited to perform in a 2,400-seat venue there, “I just thought it was way too big for the intimate experience of a radio play,” Neulander said. “Literally, in a flash I got the idea of projecting comic book artwork,” he said. The show became a hit, with a touring production visiting more than 100 venues since 2011.

“It’s not just the actors and artwork on the screen, but being able to watch the sound effects being created and watch the score being performed,” Neulander said. “It’s basically like a three-ring circus with an adventure story.”

The production is an example of how “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” he said. “We take these very simple elements of voices, gadgets that make sound effects, a piano to make music, and hand-drawn artwork, but then the combination transcends what you would expect from individual elements.

“It’s just a party.”

Where: Kennedy Theatre, University of Hawaii at Manoa
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $5-$20
Info: www.etickethawaii.com or 944-2697

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--Courtesy photo

SUNDAY, JANUARY 13
JCCH ‘Ohana Festival features ‘Kikaida’ star “Switchee-On! 1-2-3!”

That could be the welcome call for the New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival, a traditional celebration hosted by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. It’s the opening line of the theme song for “Kikaida,” the Japanese TV superhero show that took Hawaii by storm back in the ’70s.

Ban Daisuke, who starred as the guitar-playing biker who morphs into a martial artist android do-gooder, will be making an appearance at the festival to meet fans.

“He’s about 65 years old now, but he still looks good,” said Joanne Ninomiya, founder of JN Productions, which sells DVDs of the show here. “He’s very gratified” by the continued interest in the show here, she said.

Daisuke is scheduled to appear at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., along with other characters from the TV shows.

Ninomiya, as general manager of KIKU television in the ’70s, brought “Kikaida” to Hawaii thinking it would resonate with the local Asian population. She was right. The audience was large enough to net KIKU some points in Nielsen ratings.

“I didn’t think it would become this big,” Ninomiya said. “Even the Japan people can’t believe it.”

Despite its comically low production values, the show still continues to attract new fans.

“It has some kind of magic to it that somehow attracts kids between 3 and 12,” Ninomiya said. “The story is always easy to follow, very simple, good vs. evil. The monsters are colorful, kind of cute, but they’re the evil ones.”

The ‘Ohana Festival will also feature food, crafts, entertainment and cultural demonstrations, such as mochi-pounding and the ever-popular kimono dressing. (Reservations recommended; call 945-7633.)

Where: Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and Moiliili Field, 2454 S. Beretania St.
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Cost: Free
Info: www.jcch.com or 945-7633

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--Courtesy photo

THURSDAY, JANUARY 17
Hit-maker Mat Kearney lines up trio of isle gigs

Singer-songwriter Mat Kearney brings his upbeat mixture of folk, pop, hip-hop and spoken-word idioms to Hawaii for concerts at The Republik and on two neighbor islands.

Kearney’s music has received broad acclaim, with some of his tunes featured on television shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Hills,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Scrubs” and “NCIS.” His third and most recent album, “Young Love,” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums in 2011. He recently was on tour with Grammy-winning group Train, and he’s performed with John Mayer, Sheryl Crow, MUTEMATH, Meiko and the Cary Brothers.

The Oregon native, who now lives in Nashville, has also proved popular among Christian rock fans, who find resonance with his personal story of living a party lifestyle in college and then finding salvation in faith. However, he says he does not write for a particular audience.

Also appearing as his guest is Jenna.

Where: The Republik, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Cost: $25-$40
Info: flavorus.com or 855-235-2867
Also: Kearney performs Jan. 18 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and Jan. 19 at Kauai Community College; $20-$30, bampproject.com.

— Steven Mark

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