SuperCity: Music’s infinite landscape
BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser
When you think about it, there really is no shortage of quality concerts in Honolulu.
Sure, we don’t get as many artists bringing their tours through here and I will probably be a grandma by the time a fully-laced, legit music festival (a la Bonnaroo or Coachella) is ever built back up — at Kualoa? Please? — but it’s not as dead as some of you think.
Red Bull Music Academy Club Tour
Featuring Lunice, Rocky Fresh and B. Bravo
Dead would be no shows, and we are far from that scenario. No way.
Not with Spells. Not with BAMP. Not with Foundation/AYA, Double-O-Spot, Jett Setter, Odin Works, Asylum Confidential, M Nightlife and Element Group, all of whom are almost always working on finalizing a deal with an artist, or are currently hosting an artist, or planning for the next artist they want to bring out.
Just clicking on the events link on my Facebook, I’m inundated with visiting acts. Most I haven’t heard of, but a lot I still decide to check out just for the sake of them being here. I am hardly ever disappointed.
If there ever happens to be a lull, the local scene is just as powerful, whether or not it’s widely known. There had to be at least four people who hadn’t heard of Pink Mist before “Honolulu Night Market” last weekend in Kaka’ako. They were like, “Wow, who is this! They are really good!”
It is always fun being around others experiencing something awesome for the first time. It’s a killer vibe to share. I was pretty excited to tell all of them there are free shows at Chinatown’s Mercury Bar just about every week with these guys and tons of other acts ranging from rock to reggae to hip-hop.
I was thinking about all of this because there is a show coming that a lot of people might not have heard about, and it’s one of those you’ll be so happy you discovered!
Lunice (pictured above) is a Canadian rapper, DJ and producer who is one half of trappy hip-hop electronic duo TNGHT. Known for stealing the show with his abundant energy while touring with Diplo and Chiddy Bang in 2012, also helped produce “Blood on the Leaves” for Kanye West.
Lunice is currently on tour with Chicago rapper Rockie Fresh and San Francisco funk DJ B. Bravo. While these are two names you may not have heard just yet, they are artists who won’t be forgotten after Saturday, Nov. 23.
Fresh and Bravo are both graduates of the musically progressive Red Bull Music Academy in London, where they were among just 60 participants involved in intensive workshops and seminars with names like Mark Ronson, Modeselektor and Mala in 2010. They have been exposed to and worked with many independent record labels and artists, which is evident in their music selection and style.
Currently signed to Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group, Rockie Fresh falls in the category of hip-hop. Dreamy beats with his sluggish, yet strong and sometimes anthem-y lyrics propel the 22-year-old up the ranks of hip-hop’s heavy hitters.
Streaming RBMARadio’s playlists with never-ending options including DFA Records, Not Not Fun, Stones Throw and the Boiler Room collaboration is usually how I am able to get through my work days. While some people still thumb through Pandora or Spotify, the Red Bull Music Academy is shaping the way the rest of us will listen to and discover new music. Even local producer Higher Concept (who is just about impossible to impress) was impressed with a double-CD the academy put out.
“I noticed that the game is getting real redundant,” Lunice told MTV in a recent interview. “A lot of people are doing the same thing and the fans are a lot less interested. So with that I really wanted to take it upon myself to get some fly music back to the culture that’s a little bit different.”
There is no shortage of good shows or good music. We just need to have our eyes and ears open to it.
Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular “Bacardi Pool Party” on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.