Streetlight Cadence Says Aloha to Hawai‘i
It’s your last chance to see this local band before it relocates to the Mainland.
Brian Webb, Jonathon Franklin, Chaz Umamoto and Jesse Shiroma make up Streetlight Cadence.
Photo: Grace Lim
This Friday, the streets around Hawai‘i Theatre will be uncharacteristically quiet. That’s because Streetlight Cadence, the local indie-folk group who usually entertains hordes of fans on a Chinatown street corner every First Friday, is getting ready to leave the Islands for the West Coast, where it hopes to make it big. The four members’ last gig in Hawai‘i as a band will be Aug. 13 at Stage Restaurant.
The absence of accordion tunes and pop hits from Waikīkī sidewalks (where they also regularly performed) will be hard on fans, but just as hard on the band members, whose album Kalākaua Avenue was named after the years they spent playing on the sidewalk for grocery money. (The album recently won the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for Alternative Album of the Year.)
But the guys—guitarist Chaz Umamoto, violinist Jonathon Franklin, cellist Brian Webb and accordionist/foot percussionist Jesse Shiroma—are proud of how far they’ve come, winning multiple local contests and serving as panelists and judges for others. They’ve even traveled as ambassadors on behalf of the U.S. government to Okinawa, where the American embassy put together a tour for them.
“We believe we can do some considerable damage as live performers here, but our weak hand is in the recording arts,” Umamoto says about why it’s time for the band to leave Hawai‘i. “If we ever hope to have our music played across the country, across the world, we need to take this step.” They’ve already tested the waters with a few successful Mainland tours but feel the cost of flying back and forth would be better spent on things like studio time. “We want to bring our quirky, personable friendliness to other musicians, to other music lovers there. Just like anywhere else, we’re out to share our music, our spirit and make some friends.”
Streetlight Cadence performs at Central Park on a recent tour of the Mainland.
Photo: Jen Chai
The band is recording now and looking forward to finishing its most recent album, Beyond Paradise, by the end of the year. After successfully using the crowd-funding website Kickstarter to raise money for their EP After the War, they decided to use it again for this project and ended up raising more than $25,000, 125 percent of what they had asked for. Umamoto says the process was one of the most stressful experiences the band has gone through, since they wouldn’t have been able to keep any of the money had they not met their goal within 30 days. But, “We thrive on these types of situations, where it’s do or die,” he says.
“Even though we are leaving Hawai‘i, we intend to do our best as ambassadors of aloha. We will not forget where we come from and what that stands for.”
You can catch Streetlight Cadence at these final performances:
Aug. 4, Mai Tai Bar, 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., free
Aug. 5, opening for Echosmith, The Republik, 8 p.m., $25–$30 plus fees
Aug. 6, “Flare,” a benefit for The Canvas, Kewalo Basin Net Shed, 8 p.m., $15
Aug. 7, “Healthy Babies Rock,” a benefit for Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai‘i, Still and Moving Center, 6:15 to 8 p.m., $40
Aug. 8, Kāhala Mall, 1:30 to 2 p.m., free
Aug. 8, HPR’s summer concert series, Atherton Performing Arts Studio, 7:30 p.m., $15–$30
Aug. 12, Bose showcase, Ward Village, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., free
Aug. 12, “Music and Moonlight,” Kroc Center, 7 to 8 p.m., free
Aug. 13, “A Savory Sidewalk Soirée,” Stage Restaurant, seatings from 5:30 to 8 p.m.
P.S.: Though these are their final shows for now, the guys hope to be back in Hawai‘i soon. Stay tuned to streetlightcadence.com for updates.