Saturday, April 24, 2010

Live from Honolulu: Day 1 of 2010 Kokua Festival sparkles with Jack Johnson in peak form

Aloha, from sunny and hot Oahu!

It's still breakfast time here and it's already boiling hot outside; my guess is 80-degrees.

There's already a line outside the Waikiki Shell and on the opposite side of the Ala Wai Canal here in Honolulu for Day 2 of the 2010 Kokua Festival.

Here's what Day 1 was like:

* Local ukulele standout Jake Shimabukuro was very impressive on a short set of instrumental favorites, including a cover of the Beatles' "In My Life" - a song he collaborated on with Bette Midler earlier this year. Dressed in shiny, slim black denims and white short-sleeve shirt, Shimakuro was easily the winner for best eye-candy on the performing lineup.

* Legendary blues artist Taj Mahal really fired up the crowd, especially with his island-tinged set of Southern numbers. He's been coming to Hawaii for 20 years and loves it here, and the locals love him in return.

* Ziggy Marley began his 45-minute appearance by bringing his mother, Rita Marley, to the stage. He played an acoustic set and later brought Shimabukuro back out for a duet, then later his two small keiki (Hawaiian for kids) joined him for a track off his Grammy-winning children's album Family Time. After his performance, Marley came into the orchestral pit of the Waikiki Shell and shook hands with fans and posed for pictures - he was very, very nice.

* But it was Jack Johnson, co-founder of this festival along with wife Kim, who stole the show. He was irresistably good on a set of mostly older material that included "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing", "Banana Pancakes" and "Staple It Together". Dressed island-casual in faded jeans, dark blue T-shirt with a full-grown, shaggy 'do', the Grammy-nominated guitarist-vocalist invited every single Kokua Festival performer out for duets and a grand ensemble finale of the reggae standard "Everything Is Gonna Be Alright".

Day 2 of the 2010 Kokua Festival takes place later today, and a full review of the event will be in the April 30 issue of Seattle Gay News.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Live from Honolulu: Seattle Gay News at Kokua Festival on island of Oahu

Aloha, y'all.

Albert Rodriguez here from Seattle Gay News, burnt to a crisp from the 85-degree weather in Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu.

We're celebrating Earth Day with Jack Johnson, the pro surfer-turned-Grammy nominated singer-songwriter. He'll take the stage at 7:45pm tonight, and tomorrow night, for the 2010 Kokua Festival at the Waikiki Shell.

This is the eco-friendliest music festival in the US, with ALL proceeds benefiting environmental education projects, like recyling programs in public schools and a plastic-free campaign throughout the state of Hawaii. Aimed at keeping our planet cleaner and beautiful, the Kokua Festival pairs great music with a good cause - needless to say, both nights of the event are sold out.

The lineup for this year's bash is Jack Johnson, Ziggy Marley, Taj Mahal, Jake Shimabukuro and local newbie Anuhea. Last we heard, Shimabukuro (who shared the stage with Bette Midler earlier this year in front of the Queen of England) was en route to Honolulu from Paris, one of the many travelers stranded due to the volcanic ash clouds over Europe.

Set times are: Anuhea (4:30pm), Jake Shimabukuro (5:15pm), Tah Mahal & The Hula Blues Band (6:05pm), Ziggy Marley (7:00pm), and Jack Johnson (7:45pm).

I'm headed to the festival in just a bit, but first... a dip in the "adults only" infinity pool at the Sheraton Waikiki and then some Hawaiian Shave Ice, a favorite snack of the locals.

Happy Earth Day from sunny, very warm Oahu!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pop/R&B star Rihanna to launch tour in Seattle, Ke$ha to open

Seattle Gay News confirms another big tour opening in the Puget Sound, that of Rihanna who launches her North American road outing here on July 2.

The multi-Grammy winner, likely to rack up more nominations with the #1 single "Rude Boy", will perform at White River Amphitheatre with supporting act Ke$ha.

Stay glued to Seattle Gay News for updates on Rihanna and Ke$ha.