Honolulu State of Mind, Day 1

So by consequence of doing a lot of living, I’ve not done much writing. The last week of days filled with events, music, people.. and no computers. While I often have long bus rides and train rides and plane rides during which I could theoretically write a ton, this becomes offset by my lack of laptop/smartphone/thingie. So I apologize, slightly.

After my voice decided to go haywire I took a couple days off, which coincided nicely with a stay in Mililani town, away from the business of Honolulu. I took the days for excursions to the North Shore (the photos of the last post), sang not a note, yet my throat remained raspy and feeling like burning. I began to get scared I had a vocal nodule, but long story short (this will be a common theme, long stories made short, for the next few posts) after a trip to a clinic downtown I was disabused of this notion. My vocal chords look perfect. They diagnosed me with the effects of elevated acid reflux, which I have, but this didn’t make too much sense to me. Finally, yesterday I discovered what it probably is – vog, or volcanic fog, which is invisible and only affects a few people, and those people quite acutely.

The night I transfered to stay with Duane back in Waikiki, he and his friend took me to the Tantalus lookout over the city past 10pm, where I sang them a few songs, softly, lit by the city’s glow with the smell of forest whipped around by the gently raging wind. The next night I sang at an open mic, the 16th of March, having heard from a homeless man the week before that the particular open mic at this establishment, Snapper’s, awarded a $50 cash purse to the “winner.” I figured I could push through three songs no problem with such a prize dangled before me. When I arrived with Duane, we discovered to my chagrin that the prize worked as a gift certificate. But, already there, I figured why not?

A sport’s bar, and this is one, decidedly ain’t my scene. Louder people, the ambient music along the lines of Disturbed or Metallica, electric guitars on the stage, tons of mics and amps… And so Duane was very impressed that I decided to go first – I thought “Hey, here’s a challenge, if they dig me here with all these factors against me, that can mean something.” So I went through the awkward first person sound checking, the disinterested crowd while I set up idly playing Kids, and then I got ’em. I gauged the vibe well, if I may congratulate myself and I do often, starting with Hey Ya, to get them grooved into it, transitioning with my Squirrel Song and then ending with Stamsund. People were rapt, talking at tables yet listening and often stopping mid sentence – Duane said I really changed the mood and feel of the place, really chilled it out.

Afterwards a few people asked for my card, including one producer who gave me his, the macho guys unashamedly congratulated me “You were great, man!” with the posturing smoothed out. For I’d luckily guessed my clientele as such – nice guys who don’t feel comfortable acting so, and so have to bro it out and slap it others arms and laugh loudly and drink and watch sports but actually want to listen to soft intelligent music about travel and love and confusion. Even as I crossed the street on the way out people I didn’t even notice were in there greeted me happily.

I can’t say I repaid the favour to the next band. The four piece ensemble played a uniquely awful Suzy Q and followed up with another two covers where the vocalist sang flat, the drummer lagged, the bassist played in time one measure behind and the lead guitarist tuned. Duane’s and my expressions clearly displayed our pain, so after finishing my complimentary drink – an iced tea – we took our leave halfway through the first song.

Song of the Day: Stamsund – Terrence Ho

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