By Elizabeth Kieszkowski
Photos by Cindy Ellen Russell
The ska, roots and reggae show with Chris Murray Combo, Black Square and Go Jimmy Go was a major happening down in Waikiki. By the time Go Jimmy Go came on, it was wall to wall people, so warm and packed in the room that you were lucky to have already found a chair, spot of floor or wall to stake out for your own.
The crowd was wide-eyed and enthusiastic in the early hours; by the end it was a mixed bag of surfers, ska-lovers, locals, and tourists.
It’s lucky that we walked in early, when Black Square was going off, with its party-time horn section and in your face attitude, because the opening band hit just the right combination of good music and welcoming crowd. Members of the band kept the energy high when they would break off and skank their way through the crowd. Josh 86, singer and bandleader, was in fine form, smiling his way through a set that lasted nearly an hour.
Chris Murray has been an independent flag-bearer for rock steady, ska and reggae music for at least 10 years now. He has a solid discography, including two albums out in the past three years, one solo album and one with his Chris Murray Combo. The harmonies from his Combo were nowhere in evidence Friday night, but he confidently sang his way through a smooth set of uplifting, classic music.
The band started out early with Murray’s “Rocksteady,” and that pretty much set the tone for the night — easygoing and entertaining..
Murray was part of a combo on Thursday night, with a bass player and drummer. Thursday night’s show was the first in three for Oahu: Thursday night in Waikiki, Friday night at Anna’s in Moiiliili, and Saturday night at Breaker’s in Haleiwa.
Go Jimmy Go has been killling it for years now, and Friday night was no exception. The bar was packed from front to back for their exuberant set.
Get the details on Chris Murray’s appearances on Friday, Sept. 18 and Saturday, Sept. 19 in our Nightclubs calendar at www.staradvertiser.com/tgif.
Photos by FL Morris
Makainai steps out with her solo debut
Cindy Ellen Russell / email@example.com
‘FRIDAY NIGHT LUAU’
With special guest Mailani Makainai
Where: The Shack Waikiki, 2255 Kuhio Ave.
More than a decade after getting her start as one half of the island contemporary duo Keahiwai, singer-songwriter Mailani Makainai returns to her Hawaiian roots this week with the release of her self-titled solo debut album.
It’s a return for Makainai because her previous effort, as part of rock/funk/R&B trio Mighty J, was a creative departure from anything she had ever worked on before. Without her experiences working on that album, she said, it would have been impossible to get to the point she’s at today.
“When some people gravitated towards the idea of Mighty J, I thought I’d better do this now while I’m young,” Makainai said last week. “I don’t think I would have been courageous and bold enough to do this new (album) without them.
“Just having that faith in myself — that’s something that Jenn (Wright) and Tiki (Suan) gave to me.”
Makainai, who was raised in Kailua and graduated from Maryknoll School in 1998, has always been in touch with her Hawaiian roots. In 2003 and 2004, while still active with musical partner Lei Melket as Keahiwai, she participated in the annual Merrie Monarch Festival as a musician for Halau Mohala ‘Ilima. Before heading into the studio with Mighty J in 2006, she had already written and recorded three Hawaiian language tracks that would eventually find their way onto “Mailani.”
“I’ve always wanted to do Hawaiian music,” she said. “There’s a lot of responsibility, being that this (new album) is a contemporary Hawaiian music project. Not enough of the youth is taking interest … (and) that makes me fear for the Hawaiian language and Hawaiian music.
“My hope is that the album and the music and my way with the crowd … I hope I haven’t lost my touch.”
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