>> Iconoclastic blues artist takes on the system
Blues musician Chris Thomas King returns to Honolulu this weekend with his joyfully subversive style of roots blues music.
King learned his art from musicians who performed at his father’s juke joint in Louisiana, but when he branched out into hip-hop early in his career, he was shunned by American record producers and critics. So he went to Europe, where he built a solid fan base, then returned to America.
When he was chosen to perform “Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues” for the 2000 George Clooney film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” his popularity skyrocketed.
King would share the glory of the soundtrack’s Grammy win, but recently he’s tangled with the Grammy organization, protesting the exclusion of his most recent album, “Hotel Voodoo,” from consideration in the blues category. In an open letter, he said he was told that “I wasn’t a blues artist and my album wasn’t a blues album.” His song “Les Bleus Was Born in Louisiana” has also been somewhat controversial: King has promoted the idea that the blues originated in Louisiana, rather than in Mississippi and Texarkana as is commonly asserted.
With that off-stage drama, what can one expect onstage? Music that’s entertaining and uplifting, in a naughty sort of way.
“(The blues) meant music was bawdy. It was not for polite society, a bit decadent and immoral, these kind of things,” he told the Star-Advertiser in 2014. “It was blue entertainment, Saturday-night entertainment. It’s not sad or melancholy or anything like that.”
CHRIS THOMAS KING
>> Where: Anna O’Briens, 2440 S. Beretania St.
>> When: 8:30 p.m. Friday
>> Cost: $30
>> Info: 896-4845, bluesbearhawaii.com
>> Musician Andrew McMahon explores personal journey
Indie singer-songwriter Andrew McMahon returns from the wilderness for two nights at Blue Note Hawaii.
The Southern California-based artist, once the lead singer of the band Something Corporate, developed a major following after the release of his 2014 album, “Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.” That prompted the release of two more albums, “Zombies on Broadway” in 2017 and “Upside Down Flowers” in 2018, which he is touring now, performing under the label “Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.”
McMahon, 36, is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed at age 22 and undergoing a bone marrow transplant. Not surprisingly, his songs are highly personal and often autobiographical.
“The best stuff comes from cataloging little moments in the day when I am sitting at my piano, and the words just interact with the music,” he said in a 2017 interview with the Star-Advertiser. “The words feel unique, and then I take it from the piano to the studio. So much of my life is in my lyrics.”
“Upside Down Flowers” continues in McMahon’s intimate, stream-of-consciousness style, such as in the single “Monday Flowers,” where he relates the moods of lovers from day to day.
ANDREW MCMAHON IN THE WILDERNESS
>> Where: Blue Note Hawaii
>> Cost: $35-$40
>> When: 6:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday
>> Info: 777-4890, bluenotehawaii.com
>> Fashion and music to make harmony together
Style and sound go together well; witness the movie “Rocketman,” about the life of Elton John, for proof. So it only makes sense to bring on the first ever Hawaii Music and Fashion Festival , Saturday at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.
The show features some of Hawaii’s top fashion designers, including local “Project Runway” contestants Kini Zamora, above, and Ari South, at left. Brands represented at the festival include Missing Polynesia, Lexbreezy, Simply Sisters, Kaulua‘e Hawai‘i, Wehi Designs and Hawaii’s Finest Clothing.
The musical lineup includes popular reggae and island contemporary stars including Irie Love, Maoli, Mahkess and PeniDean, The Vitals, Mana‘o Company and Bruddah Waltah.
HAWAII MUSIC AND FASHION FESTIVAL
>> Where: Hawaii Convention Center
>> When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday
>> Cost: $20-$70
>> Info: hifinest.com
>> Pan Pacific Festival celebrates Pacific cultures
This weekend, the Pan Pacific Festival offers three days of music, pageantry and cultural events from around the Pacific Rim.
Celebrating its 40th year, the festival is presenting events at Ala Moana Centerstage, the International Market Place and the Waikiki Beach Walk Plaza stage. All three venues feature performances by artists from Okinawa, Thailand and the Philippines, Hawaii and more Pacific nations.
Performances at Ala Moana will take place around lunchtime and start about 1 p.m. at Waikiki venues.
The international popularity of hula will be demonstrated by hula halau from around the world, taking to the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
And you can strut your own stuff at the popular Street Dance Fest in Hawaii at 6:30 p.m Friday.
For those who like the pageantry and color of a parade, the Pan-Pacific Parade takes place at 5 p.m. Sunday, from Fort DeRussy Park to Kapiolani Park. Because of the international nature of this event, it is one of the most colorful and largest of the parades that take place in Waikiki.
Visit pan-pacific-festival.com for a full calendar of events.
PAN PACIFIC FESTIVAL 2019
>> Where: Ala Moana Centerstage, International Market Place, Waikiki Beach Walk Plaza, Kuhio Beach Hula Mound
>> When: Begins with an arts showcase at Ala Moana, 10:30 a.m. Friday; final event is hula at Kuhio Beach, 7:30-10 p.m. Sunday
>> Cost: Free
>> Info: pan-pacific-festival.com
For additional events, visit staradvertiser.com/calendar.