Live: The Urchinz, Josh 86 & The Pressure, Bison, Lord Sufferer (1-31-14)

Live: The Urchinz, Josh 86 & The Pressure, Bison, Lord Sufferer (1-31-14)


Date: Friday, January 31st, 2014
Line Up: The Urchinz, Josh86 & the Pressure, Bison (of Go Jimmy Go), Lord Sufferer
Venue: Downbeat Lounge. Honolulu, Hawaii

The deciding factor on my move to Oahu, as opposed to Maui, was the population size and the abundant availability of jobs. Almost everyone that I have met who has been here for at least a decade have employment; many of them work for themselves as craftsman or artisans. I figured with nearly one million people, there was going to be a music scene that is hidden away from the postcard pictures, leis, luaus, and tourists. I pictured an underground gathering of misfits and renegades who play more than just the ukulele.
One benefit in getting to know people who are seasoned veterans on this island is hearing about all of the best places to go for music, drinks, or food. The Downbeat Diner and Lounge, owned by Josh “86” Hancock, was celebrating Chinese New Year by hosting a free reggae and ska show featuring The Urchinz, Josh86 & the Pressure, Bison, Lord Sufferer.

Downbeat Diner & Lounge is located in Chinatown, an area of Honolulu that is currently in the middle of an artistic renaissance. Featured on the walls of many of the independently owned bars, shops and restaurants are masterpieces created by local artists. This art is as promoted during the monthly art event that practically closes down all of the streets called First Friday. Downbeat is the perfect place to have a tasty burger at the diner before a long night of beer drinking in the lounge next door. With a small and intimate stage, it feels like going back in time to the 1950s and there is punk rock blaring through the jukebox and everyone has tattoos and plugs in their ears.

Lord Sufferer kicked off the night with a solo acoustic act, which was a welcome blend of reggae rock and Oi punk rock. The soothing acoustic guitar made its way through the front door to the streets outside where a crowd was beginning to line up and fill in the bar to make it standing room only. Jason “Bison” Friedmann, lead singer of the Honolulu band, Go Jimmy Go, a third wave ska and reggae band with the Jamaican “Rudeboy” sound. Along with original acoustic tracks, Bison served up his enjoyable renditions of Sublime’s “Santeria” and The Clash.

Josh86 & the Pressure brought up the energy playing dancehall ska/punk/reggae and made it nearly impossible not to skank, even while standing at the bar or waiting in line for the restroom. Josh86, from the local punk band 86 List, has vocals that are perfectly in tune with the music supporting Urchinz9him, The Pressure. A talented and tight drummer kept up with the upbeat that got the crowd moving. His bass player tied everything together to complete the composition the band describes as, Rebel Reggae. His stage presence and lyrics make it obvious that he is no stranger to the stage or promoting shows.

Approaching midnight on the first day of the Year of the Horse, The Urchinz took the stage in front of the packed, intimate venue. Opening with “Bubble Song”, a song about getting out of one’s comfort zone, friends and fans moved up to the stage to catch a glimpse of the musical madness to ensue. I overheard someone in the crowd say The Urchinz are the “whole package” with the talent that has been brought together.

Drummer, Brian Kusko, who is currently lending his talent hitting skins to a few bands, is in his element when he is on the throne. Some people just have a knack for creating fills and Kusko is one of them while also contributing backup vocals. He is a drummer that you don’t want to take your eyes off of because you want to see what he is going to do next. The same goes for Kaimi Hanano’eau who plays rhythm guitar and also lends his harmonic skills. When it comes time for Kaimi to go off on a solo, all eyes in attendance shift his way. Steven Ashcraft gets the groove going with his bass. His style is often heard in rock and roll songs yet fits perfectly with The Urchinz reggae, ska, and rock fusion. His face gives off the look of a student, constantly studying, analyzing, and improving on his previous note. Finally, lead singer Patrick Harrison is one of the reasons why the band is the real deal. Harrison’s experience on the stage with his guitar and vocal range make this band one to pay attention to.

Their song, “Mindandao” is a beautiful tribute to one of the Philippian Islands and encourages us to rely on the simple things that are given to us in life. The backup vocals in “I Want to Know” appear Urchinz1to give a hint that this band would employ professional back up singers, horns, or any other instrument to orchestrate their music if given the chance. Although it was getting close to last call, The Urchinz kept playing. Even eleven songs later, the crowd did not receive enough to satisfy the hunger and called out, “Hana Hou!” or “encore”.

86 Productions and the Downbeat Diner are the all-in-one one-stop-shop for ska, reggae and acoustic artists. Josh86 has put together something priceless for the Hawai’i reggae and rock scene and by the size of the audience and the ovations each artist received, it is well appreciated. The local music scene in Honolulu is just like any other city except for one small difference; instead playing for fans and friends it is more like building an “ohana” or “family”.

There was not an upside down smile in the crowd throughout the night and each artist received the admiration they deserved. This proves that the way to garner respect in the music industry is still starting from scratch and fighting tooth and nail with each show, appearance, note and drumbeat.

The Urchinz Set-List:
1.) Bubble Song
2.) Mindanao
3.) I Wanna Know
4.) Stepping Stone
5.) Mr. Bobby
6.) Walking Out
7.) Jesse James
8.) SIV
9.) Pale Road
10.) Strange Fishes
11.) Lost at Sea
Hana Hou (encore):
12.) Sirens
13.) Love Song

The Urchinz Links:
The Urchinz Facebook
The Urchinz Twitter

Josh86 Links:
Josh86 Facebook

Go Jimmy Go Links:
Go Jimmy Go Website
Go Jimmy Go Faebook

Article By: Blake Taylor
Photos By: Josh Bowlin