Where Did All This Great Music Come From, Honolulu?


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Despite having some of the most beautiful vistas, weather and beaches in the world, Hawaii is not exactly a concert mecca. It’s just so inconvenient for touring artists to lug all their gear into the middle of the ocean for one or two shows, not to mention expensive.

But somehow, our local promoters have been doing some serious work on the concert front lately, booking the most talked about artists right in their prime. (Smart move, Tom Moffatt, for putting Bruno Mars tickets on sale the day after he killed it at the Super Bowl halftime show. All three shows sold out immediately.) The latest announcement comes from Digs Hawaii, a hip-hop and street-wear brand and concert promoter, saying hip-hop legend-in-the-making Kendrick Lamar will perform with his live band at the Blaisdell Arena March 8, hot off performances at the Grammys and Saturday Night Live.

Maybe all Honolulu needed to lure more rap and hip-hop artists was a Microsoft store, the opening of which brought Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to Kakaako Waterfront Park last year. In 2014, there are already dates at The Republik for Action Bronson (Feb. 10), Afrika Bambaataa (Feb. 21), Yelawolf (April 26) and People Under the Stairs (May 29).

Though there’s clearly an influx of hip-hop artists, there’s still plenty of room for all other genres. Comedy? We’ve got Dave Chappelle (Feb. 6) and Jo Koy (Feb. 8 and 9). R&B? Toni Braxton performs for Soul Sessions V.5 on Valentine’s Day. Country? Florida Georgia Line at the Blaisdell (April 24). With the creation of the Electric Palms Concert Series in 2012, electronic artists have consistently packed the house, especially Steve Aoki, who filled the Blaisdell Arena last month as part of the Winter White Tour. The series doesn’t even include Felix Cartal (Feb. 7) and Baths (March 26).

But at the heart of many concerts, promoter BAMP Project sticks to its rock roots. AFI, the alt rockers most known for “Girl’s Not Grey” and “Miss Murder,” make their way to the Islands after more than 20 years of music making (March 8). Stone Temple Pilots and Chester Bennington were all set to perform March 6 and 7, but canceled to continue recording a new album. We still have Bring Me the Horizon (April 1), City and Colour (April 10) and Iron and Wine (April 14) to look forward to.

Geez, Honolulu. You’re starting to look like Vegas. (Only much prettier.)

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Honolulu Magazine May 2018
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