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Freestyle: Concert pays tribute to Joplin
BY ELIZABETH KIESZKOWSKI / email@example.com
Kasi Nunes has a thing for “Queens of Rock ‘n’ roll.” With a powerhouse voice and personality of her own, Nunes’ inspirations are the women who broke down barriers, insisting by the sheer volume of their talent that they not be ignored.
A Live Tribute to Janis Joplin
Featuring Kings Of Spade, Yoza and MOTHxp
» Where: The Republik, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.
Janis Joplin certainly falls into that category. In the 1960′s, when women were still pressured to wear white gloves in public, act “demure” and defer to men, Joplin burst on the scene with a voice that could not be denied. Though she died while still young, at age 27 in 1970, Joplin still inspires uncounted admirers on the basis of her raw, commanding and deeply soulful musical performances.
Nunes, her band Kings of Spade, and a roll call of spirited, raucous performers including Yoza, Maria Remos and Devon Williams are banding together for a tribute to Joplin on Saturday at The Republik. In fact, Jan. 19, the date of the concert, is Joplin’s birthday. She would have been 70 this year.
When I reached Nunes on the phone, she shouted in glee as soon as she knew why I was calling.
“Well, hey Elizabeth,” she said. “I definitely think the concert is going to blow up!”
Nunes was full of praise for the lineup on this show, particularly Devon Williams, who will be singing “Ball and Chain.”
“Ball and Chain,” if you think about it, is a terrifying song to perform. Joplin sang it as a blues tour de force, moving from a low, dangerous and broken-hearted rumble to a howl, her voice a wild thing.
Nunes said Williams got “stuck with” the song because no other performer was willing to take it on, and proceeded to own it.
“It’s going to be the performance of the night,” Nunes said. “He just nailed it.”
Nunes is singing “Piece of My Heart.”
“There’s only two Janis Joplin songs I can sing, that are within my range, in the original key,” Nunes said. “I feel like I’ve got a pretty good range, but Janis … ”
That’s about right. Joplin was one of a kind, but that shouldn’t stop her musical admirers from using her music as an inspiration.
IN AUGUST, 2011, Nunes put together a tribute to Amy Winehouse. Some of the players in that widely praised show are back for this one.
Yoza is one of them. Nunes said she called Yoza on the mainland to convince the performer to return for the show, and she’s frank in her admiration for this performer, labeling Yoza one of “Honolulu’s queens of acoustic soul and R&B.”
Performers on the bill are all noteworthy, including Erin Smith (The Throwdowns), Maria “Songbird” Remos (a “standout,” said Nunes), Big Mox of the Bentos, also well-known for his battle performances, Makke Farley (Sex Puppets), Violetta Beretta and Kahnma K. The seven-piece tribute band includes keys and horns.
The show opens with performances by Kings of Spade and Yoza, playing her own music.
The closing act is MOTHxp, from Maui. Nunes describes the band as “melodic metal,” part musical act, part performance art, with an extravagant drummer. Acrobats accompany the band, with performance reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil. Erin Smith is even going to sit in on a number.
As for Kings of Spade, the band is calling 2012 its biggest ever. The band completed a cross-country tour, and plans another this year, with several gigs planned in Austin, Tex. during the annual South by Southwest Music Festival. Kings of Spade will be on the road throughout the month of March.
SURF AND TURF: I want to give a shout-out to John Cruz, the pro surfers and National Football League stars, here for the Pro Bowl, who are doing their part for a good cause at Turtle Bay Resort this Wednesday, Jan. 23, and Thursday, Jan. 24.
These good guys are making an appearance at the North Shore resort to benefit the Mauli Ola Foundation, which supports experiences for kids with genetic disabilities that affect their mobility and wellness, including cystic fibrosis. It’s being billed as “The Best in Turf Meets the Best in Surf,” and it’s a pretty cool opportunity to mingle with these pros while supporting activities and hospital visits for the kids.
The kids will meet these accomplished athletes for a surf experience on Jan. 23. Surfers participating include Alana Blanchard, Maya Gabeira, Coco Ho, Rochelle Ballard, Makua Rothman, Kala Alexander, Jason Magallanes, Jamie O’Brien, Reef McIntosh and John John Florence. (Wow!)
On Jan. 24, NFL players Marcus Allen, Christian Okoye, Eric Dickerson, Chris Conte, Tony Gonzalez and the elite crew of surfing professionals will take part in an oceanside golf day, with a noon tee time at Palmer Golf Course.
The concert and golf day are open to the public. Tickets for the concert with Cruz and Fuga are $50 (VIP table for four, $600); the golf day is $300 per person (game for four with a star athlete, $1,200); and a VIP golf/concert package for four is $1,800. Go to mauliola.org for tickets.
As Janis would say, get it while you can!
Elizabeth Kieszkowski is editor of TGIF, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s weekly arts and entertainment section. Reach her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.