On The Record: Tinashe at The Republik
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Honolulu met pop songstress Tinashe for the first time Saturday at The Republik, and by all accounts quite an impression was made by both parties.
While Hawaii was properly introduced to an all-around talent who might one day rival the likes of Rihanna and Beyonce, the 22-year old Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter met an audience that appreciates a performer who goes all out.
It was an eventful week for the pop sensation — one that included a national performance on “Good Morning America,” a feature in Spin Magazine and a festival performance in Guam.
Shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, Tinashe’s funky drummer appeared on stage, followed by two backup dancers. Tinashe, who is set to perform on Nikki Minaj’s Pinkprint tour in July, kicked off her set with the seductive coos of “Vulnerable” from her 2013 mixtape, “Black Water.”
The crowd seemed to be more engaged in the presence of the rising talent and unfamiliar with the song itself. Her dancers left the stage before the next song to give the stunningly beautiful songstress and her vocal abilities the spotlight on her futuristic love ballad, “Bet.”
Absent were Tinashe’s backup singers, who normally accompany her at shows, but she took on the additional vocal load in stellar fashion most of the night. With the amount of PG-rated hip thrusts and hip shimmys that went down over the course of the 30-minute show, a performer of Tinashe’s caliber is allowed to catch her breath while singing from time to time.
A warm and almost mystic vibe, carried by the thumping drums, took over the room during the opening moments of “Far Side of the Moon.” The crowd, predominately females and couples, obliged after Tinashe asked them to nod their heads with her.
A trained dancer since the age of 4, Tinashe and her team displayed slick, quick choreography — with teases of sensuality throughout — reminiscent of equally gifted movers like Ciara and Janet Jackson with the genuineness and star quality of the late Aaliyah mixed in.
Tinashe’s image steers clear of over the top in your face bump and grind sex appeal and meets somewhere in the middle between squeaky clean girl next door. She easily distances herself from the ratchet zone young females tend to want to visit these days.
In what would amount to a pretty tasteful show from a dancing standpoint, the crowd lit up during “Watch Me Work” as Tinashe and her dancer tandem booty popped well into a dance interlude that followed.
“Cold Sweat,” quite possibly one of the most underrated songs on “Aquarius,” featured the talented performer’s seductive and sultry falsetto. Tinashe was on stage by herself once again during “How Many Times.”
When the dance numbers were not providing the energy for the crowd to soak in, Tinashe’s drummer kept the beat going all night. He was much more effective than a DJ playing pre-recorded instrumentals would have been.
The crowd showed solid admiration and enthusiasm for the young pop diva throughout the evening, but it was hard to tell if they were true fans or diehard followers in the making who were simply waiting for her club hits, “2 On” and “All Hands On Deck.” It mattered little in the end as the high level showing just about won over everyone in attendance.
With close to a half-dozen tracks performed in just 15 minutes, the show seemed to be moving too quickly. Tinashe exited the stage as a drum solo filled the dead space. She returned to the stage moments later, brown blouse gone, replaced by a white sports bra.
An infectious dance vibe was eminent as soon as the intro of “All Hands On Deck” played, the thick and addictive bassline leading to more solid choreo as the track seamlessly weaved into her platinum smash, “2 On,” and raised the energy of the Honolulu crowd to its peak.
An extended version of the track followed before Tinashe stepped off stage and boosted herself up on a barricade step to acknowledge a few lucky fans before exiting with event security. There was no hana hou to follow, as the lights remained dim, giving the impression that there was more show in store.
Most of the crowd waited another 15 minutes before realizing the show had come to an end.
Given her limited catalog, Saturday’s crowd seemed satisfied with the 30-minute, no frills showing.
Already primed and ready to carve out her lane in the music industry, Tinashe went the extra mile simply through her efforts to put on an entertaining, high energy performance, one that often separates music superstars from the rest of the pack.
After dabbling in the fashion spotlight this fall as part of Ralph Lauren’s international Denim and Supply campaign and the release of her second album early next year, don’t be surprised if Blaisdell Arena is the venue of choice for her next show. She’s already close to proving she may very well be just that good.
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.