Night Lights: Weekend Wrapup Nov. 19-22

Friday was a strange and stressful night for me. If you’re on Twitter, you might have heard already, but here’s a more complete account of my time at the Sublime with Rome concert.

As a high school punk in California, I grew up with Sublime, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Bad Religion, etc. There’s still a lot of Sublime songs that I know every word of by heart, and even after what happened at the concert, I had “Wrong Way” and “Santeria” stuck in my head all weekend. They’re one of the iconic bands of my generation, and so naturally, when I heard that the current incarnation of the band, with new frontman Rome Ramirez, was going to play in Honolulu, I jumped at the chance to go. I knew it wouldn’t be the same… truth is, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I was totally willing to give them a chance.

When I showed up, I found that there had been some sort of mix-up, and the media pass I was supposed to pick up wasn’t there, although I still had permission to shoot. Unfazed, I decided to just shoot from the audience, as I often do at concerts where there’s no photography pit.

I still can’t figure out why people up front were so pissed off. Maybe because many of them had paid $150 for VIP tickets, knowing deep down that it wouldn’t be the same as Sublime with Bradley Nowell, the original singer/guitarist. Maybe because it was so jam-packed that no one could move (not too unusual at a concert, though). Maybe because the joints being passed around were spiked with something nasty. Either way, while I was as close to front and center as I could get, having incited some hostility getting there, tensions exploded and a big fight broke out close by. At one point, even the band stopped playing because things were getting out of hand, and Rome commented that they thought Hawaii would be more chill.

Peace and love? Sorry to disappoint you guys.

To the band and the new singer’s credit, they sounded decent and really got the crowd excited. I got the impression that I was hearing a good cover band playing the old Sublime hits, though. Like Journey’s new singer, Rome Ramirez has some pretty big shoes to fill.

Anyways, I had escaped from the crowd and was taking a breather when I was accosted by a big guy in black, who grabbed my camera and threatened to smash it. Wait, what? Yeah, turns out it was Sublime with Rome’s security enforcer, making sure that no one remotely official was still taking photos. In the chaos, I had lost track of the number of songs the band had played (“official” photography was only supposed to be during the first three songs, but since as far as I could tell, the “official” agreement had already been broken and I was no longer official, nor was I in the photog pit, I hadn’t been counting). In the end, things got more or less worked out, I was escorted off and got the hell out of there.

Nuff said? Nuff said. Here’s the gallery I ended up with, after all that:

Sublime With Rome

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The same night ended with Soulgasm’s third anniversary at thirtyninehotel, which was relaxing in comparison.

Lyanne Brooks, the amazing little lady who started the soulful house dance party (she’s a pretty good dancer herself), brought in Marques Wyatt for the anniversary celebration, and he was laying down some infectious beats that it was practically impossible not to dance to. And even though some of the best dancers didn’t quite have room to bust out on the floor like they obviously longed to do, there were still some really great moves to be captured.

Soulgasm’s 3rd Anniversary

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Saturday… First, I dropped in to Showdown in Chinatown’s fifth Anniversary celebration and the 2010 short film championships at NextDoor and Bar 35. Although founder and spearheader Torry Tukuafu was sick and unable to attend, both venues were full, and the films themselves were pretty darn impressive this time around. Here’s the gallery:

Showdown in Chinatown’s 5th Anniversary

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Congrats, Mikey Inouye, Aly Ishikuni and Jeremiah Tayao for their beautiful winning film, “Alex Ikeda: The Creation of a Song.” Way to go, guys!

Ok, so I left NextDoor a bit early and bounced over to Fresh Cafe, because I didn’t want to miss Rise Up Hawaii’s fundraiser concert for homeless families in Waianae. Although you might not have heard of the Rise Up crew yet, you might want to check them out at They’ve already got some pretty impressive organization going on, and are dedicated to providing some much-needed local activism. The rest of the story for this one is actually in the gallery:

Rise Up

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Part of the Rise Up team, spearheaded by co-founders Dana Plotkin (far right), a Kalani High School teacher, Sophie Miyoshi, a Kalani High School student (second from right), Joel Gaspar (middle) Kim Canepa (second from left) and Beatrice Parrish (not pictured). Rise Up is a diverse bunch, with some members still in high school, and others attending college. These guys and gals are taking seriously the oft-quoted adage by Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

It really WAS a three-day weekend! Sunday was another one of Super CW & Eskae’s (in case you were wondering what CWSK stands for, lol) epic pool parties, and I didn’t want to miss it. Did I mention DJ Jami was back? Even though I don’t look half as good in swimwear as 75 percent of the people there, the last party like this was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Outdoors, poolside on an absolutely gorgeous day, hanging with friends from all kinds of different social circles… yeah, this one was pretty fun too.

Reef Hawaiian Pro Pool Party

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I’ll leave you with the sunset off the Marriott’s balcony, a shot I had to stop for as I was leaving.

God, I love Hawaii.