>> Rebel-rousing Dead Kennedys still making waves in punk world
The Dead Kennedys, one of the original hardcore punk bands, comes to Hawaii celebrating 40 years of tweaking the establishment and turning it on its head.
Even in its home turf of the San Francisco Bay Area, the band could not help but be seen as subversive, with its name seen as tasteless and offensive. It actually referred to the notion that the American Dream, as represented by the Kennedy clan’s progressive politics, was dying. With Reaganism just an election cycle away, they weren’t wrong.
Insolence and provocation pretty much ruled with DK, the name the band sometimes took to fly under the radar, since it was often banned from clubs and bars. Songs like “Holiday in Cambodia,” from their 1980 debut album “Fresh Fruit and Rotting Vegetables,” took aim at not just the fascist Pol Pot regime, but privileged liberal college students, with lyrics like: “Play ethnicky jazz/ To parade your snazz/ On your five grand stereo.” The right wing movement wasn’t spared either, with several songs from its 1981 EP “In God We Trust Inc.” taking aim at Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and organized religion. The band would eventually turn away from the punk rock scene itself, feeling it had become too violent.
Vocalist Jello Biafra was front and center back then, his unique squeal able to pierce the hard-driving guitar of East Bay Ray, but he and the rest of the band had a falling out over money (what else?) and credit for writing their songs (Oh, that). Ray continues to perform with drummer D.H. Peligro, guitarist Klaus Flouride and bassist Ron “Skip” Greer.
THE DEAD KENNEDYS 40TH ANNIVERSARY
>> Where: Hawaiian Brian’s Social Club
>> When: 10 p.m. Friday
>> Cost: $38-$45
>> Info: 946-1343, hbsocialclub.com
>> Remembering ‘Koolau the Leper’
The arrival of leprosy, a disfiguring and deadly communicable disease, in Hawaii, left the government with difficult options. Isolating them, holding them captive at Kalaupapa on Molokai, seemed the most humane.
Several months after the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, a deputy sheriff was sent to Kauai to clean up a colony of “lepers” living in Kalalau Valley. The “lepers” drew first blood, gunning him down, and in the days that followed several more law enforcement personnel were killed and 27 “lepers” were apprehended and shipped to Kalaupapa.
One of the leaders of the “leper” colony was a man named Kaluaikoolau – Koolau, for short. Koolau withdrew deeper into the valley with his wife, Pi‘ilani, and son, Kaleimanu, and the government eventually stopped trying to apprehend them. Koolau and Kaleimanu died of leprosy but Pi‘ilani never contracted it. Eventually she left the valley and told the story of her husband’s resistance in a book, “Ka Moolelo oiaia o Kauluaikoolau,” which was published in 1906. Jack London shared the story of Koolau with the English-speaking world in a short story, “Koolau the Leper,” published in 1909.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Gary Kubota brought the story to the local stage with “Legend of Ko‘olau” in 2016. It returns for two performances this weekend in the Doris Duke Theatre. Maronai Kanekoa, the actor who originated the role and then portrayed Ko‘olau in a series of performances on the mainland, also returns as the star.
Playwright Kubota describes Kanekoa’s performance as “brilliant.”
“His memory and performances have been extraordinary,” Kobota said. “People have laughed and cried again during performances.”
— John Berger, Star-Advertiser
“THE LEGEND OF KO’OLAU”
>> Where: Honolulu Museum of Art
>> When: 7 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday
>> Cost: $25-$35
>> Info: 532-6097, honolulumuseum.org
>> Desha brings music project Low Hum home
Musician Collin Desha grew up in Hawaii and comes from an illustrious musical Hawaiian family — he’s related to the famous Beamer family — but he’s found a musical home on the mainland, in Los Angeles.
“I wanted to pursue my music in sort of this indie-rock world, which was going to be difficult to pursue on the islands,” said Desha, who played punk rock in coffee shops and school events while in school here. “I was kind of the runt in the family and ran out to L.A.”
After 13 years working on the mainland, he released his debut album “Room To Breathe” earlier this year under the name of his project Low Hum, which he’ll be performing on Saturday at Chez Sports Bar & Grill in Aiea. The album features a rich, moody, electronic sound; it’s received praise from NPR, among other outlets.
“It’s a great show. It’s got a lot of energy,” Desha said. “I’m always trying to always incorporate what technology is doing to music these days. The project I’ve built is pretty unique for a rock band, where it uses a lot of electronic elements but is also very much a performance. Everyone’s playing instruments nonstop.”
Though local people probably won’t hear a particularly “Hawaiian” quality in his sound, Desha said others do. “If you look up the write-ups from Germany and the U.K. and the mainland, they all go ‘You sound you’re from Hawaii, there’s this kind of watery tropicalness to your music,’ ” he said. “I feel like it’s all ingrained in the music I’m doing, but the genre itself, it’s definitely not traditional by any means.”
LO HUM AND UNDAGROUND KONKUSHYN
>> Where: Chez Sports Bar & Grill, Westridge Shopping Center, Aiea
>> When: 9 p.m. Saturday
>> Cost: $10
>> Info: 488-2439, chezsportsbarandgrill.com
>> Korean-American Jay Park gets into the groove
Korean-American hip-hop artist Jay Park brings his smooth sound and slick dance moves to Hawaii Theatre on Wednesday.
Originally from Seattle, Park started out as competitive b-boy dancer, auditioning to be a member of a South Korean group when he was a teenager. He went to Korea and became one of the most popular members of the group 2PM, but then it was found that he had written some critical comments about Korea during his early years there, when he was training with the group.
The uproar forced him to leave Korea and return to the U.S., but soon fan interest brought him back. His YouTube channel quickly went viral with his version of “Nothin’ on You,” the B.o.B-Bruno Mars collaboration in 2010, and his star has been on the rise ever since in Korea, winning the Korean Hip-hop Artist of the Year and the Korean Music Award’s Musician of the Year Award in 2017.
Park sings in both Korean and English and his songs are plenty suggestive without being raunchy, delivered with an easy R&B groove with some hip-hop flair thrown in to boot.
>> Where: Hawaii Theatre
>> When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
>> Cost: $59-$169
>> Info: 528-0506, hawaiitheatre.com