Date: Friday, June 6th, 2014
Line Up: Common Kings, Jimmy Weeks Project, Sammy J, Stay Grounded
Venue: Jazzbones. Tacoma, WA
The Common Kings are in the midst of a massive resurgence of Hawaiian artists making their mark on the mainland. The Polynesian Pop/Rock/Reggae/R&B band from Costa Mesa, CA kicked off their first headline experience on the Coconut Whiskey Tour with two sold out shows at the Hawthorne Theater in Portland, Oregon and Jazzbones in Tacoma, Washington.
NVR MT Promotions and Da808Music Entertainment, based in the Seattle/Tacoma area, tried to make this show happen a few months ago for the Yakama Nation, to no avail. However, members of the Yakama Nation and all of the Hawaiian and Polynesian transplants showed up to groove to their local boys currently making a big splash on the reggae scene.
Eric, Marc, and Tom Yamada of Da808Music Entertainment began as club promoters in Seattle while they developed relationships based on the Hawaiian concept of “Ohana”, or family. The three brothers use their connections to bring the music and good vibes to the fans. They have no expectations of making a profit or making it big time, although based on my experience they are well-loved and respected local celebrities. To them it is all about the music and the people.
Opening the early show is local Seattle/Tacoma reggae band Stay Grounded. Their pleasant island vibes were the perfect start to a show that was already expressing much aloha. Brisbane, Australia local Sammy J jumped on stage with an energetic house band. Sammy J’s passion and heart while singing makes his love for what he does apparent. He describes his music as a mix between R&B, Soul, Scat, Jazz and Funk and his vocal talents made nearly every girl’s knees weak as they danced and swayed. Next, Jimmy Weeks Project burst on the stage with conviction, as Julianne Kailhiwa from their label, EKM Records, said “What they lack in size they make up for in energy.”
Laughter, smiles, and hugs filled Jazzbones with a tremendous feeling of ohana. It was like walking around an island luau as the sun set over the Pacific Northwest. The building had no shortage of aloha shirts, kukui nut leis, and beautiful wahines with flowers adorning their ears. To avoid an unpleasant run-in with a Samoan, Tongan, or Polynesian I had to remind myself that the single ladies wear the flower in the right ear. It was at that time the music stopped, the lights went out, and cell phone screens lit up like LCD fire-flies.
After a brief musical ambiance and a spinning light shining on the crowd, the Common Kings appeared on stage to a welcome cheer. We were treated to a clean and tight guitar intro from Grey when lead singer, Sasualei “Jr King” Maliga, asked, “How are you feeling, Tacoma?” with a loud and responsive reply from the crowd. The energy of Jazzbones had nowhere to go, but up.
After the Common Kings performed “The Light” and “Fall in Love”, they let DJ Osna take over for a quick spin session. The band joined back in on the music for a quick cover of Arrested Development’s “Everyday People” before leading into their next original song “Alcoholic” while bass player Ivan Kirimaua’s bass lines grooved their way through the PA and his flowing hair bounced subtly to the beats of drummer Jerome Taito.
Jr King continued to woo the crowd with his impressive vocal talents. The Common Kings mesh incredibly well as a band. They act as one and work as a team as each member puts forth their finest effort in an all around display of musical fortitude. Their music can sooth the savage beast at one point before they rock the house with Grey’s guitar aptitude and Erik Przytulski’s creative key strokes.
By the end of the set the entire crowd had arms waving back and forth with the band’s beats. Peace signs and shakas flooded the audience and Jr King belted out “When I say Common, you say Kings! COMMON…” with an astounding reply “KINGS!” It still baffles me how much energy can fit into a smaller, more intimate building.
The Pier spoke with Common Kings about the tour and being in the middle of a Hawaiian music renaissance. “This is our first time in Tacoma,” Common Kings guitarist Taumata Grey told us. He said “we weren’t sure what to expect but such great energy, a high energy Tacoma show. Common Kings have so much love for Tacoma!”
Taito told us about his excitement and love for headlining their own tour, “Everybody has been coming out to support us and we appreciate every one of them”
Bass player Ivan Kirimaua said, “The tour has been fricken amazing, it just goes to show there’s a lot of love.” Being on the forefront of the Hawaiian movement has brought perspective about their island counterparts, “The Green are amazing, they’re on tour right now. Boog’s (J Boog) just got off tour. Maoli, they just did a run. There’s a lot of good bands. We are very honored to be a part of that.”
“This tour means a lot to us. We were blessed to go on tour with Rebelution, SOJA, and Katchafire as direct support,” says Grey, “but this is our first headline tour with Sammy J and Jimmy Weeks.”
The group will travel through Montana, Minnesota, Illinois and New York before turning South to hit Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, and then a drive to Denver before finally ending in Utah. The work does not end for this group; after the tour they will play the Mayjah Rayjah Festival at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu with J Boog, Shaggy, Rebel Soujahz, Anuhea, Sammy J and lots of other local talent. Check out the Common Kings on this tour before they begin to sell out major arenas and amphitheaters.
Kimie (w/Tubby Love) Set List:
1.) Tetris Intro
2.) The Light
3.) Fall In Love
4.) DJ Osna: Turn Down for What/Let Me Clear My Throat/Everyday People (w/band)
6.) Your Turn
8.) Kingdom Come
10.) Wade In Your Water
Hana Hou (Encore):
Common Kings Facebook
Common Kings Twitter
Da808Music Entertainment Website
EKM Records Website
Article by: Blake Taylor
Photos by: Jenny Feria
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