Author: Steve Roby

Steven Roby is a respected music historian, journalist, and best-selling author. He has written feature articles and reviews for Guitar World, and has been featured in Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and Billboard magazine. Roby is also the Managing Editor of Big Island Music Magazine.

It may be a new year, but it seems like we’re singing the same old song when it comes to the uncertainty of local in-person performances. With an increase in state-wide coronavirus infections due to the spread of the Omicron variant, the Kahilu Theatre has decided to postpone in-person live performances for the time being. It will continue to offer livestream shows via its reliable fallback, Kahilu TV. The tough decision was made yesterday, and today executive director Sara Nealy said via email, “Our return will depend on the course of the pandemic and County restrictions. We’re not closed nor…

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Virginia Holte, Founder and Artistic Director of the West Hawaii Dance Theatre (WHDT) has offered performances of the Nutcracker Ballet and has across the State for the past 29 years, many of which took place at the Kahilu Theatre. Holte spoke with me about WHDT’s response to COVID-19 concerns with this year’s annual production, and her history with The Nutcracker. “The first Kahilu performance was in 1992,” recalled Holte. “We used pre-recorded music, and I danced it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t afford to fly in guest artists back then. Last year, with the shutdowns, the show still went on, but in…

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From Waimea to Hilo, Big Island audiences were recently treated to some of the Christmas joy that comes with watching a live holiday performance. But, if the pandemic was still uppermost on your mind, you could’ve taken your shoes off, lolled on the sofa, and watched the livestream shows at home.   Last Friday, ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro offered his “Christmas in Hawaii” concert at the Kahilu Theatre. The event opened with a 20-minute set by the talented Thunderstorm Artis. He was a finalist on the 2020 Spring season of “The Voice,” and his music is destined to soar on…

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  Last Friday was a hectic day for world-renowned ukulele musician Jake Shimabukuro. Not only was he performing his holiday show at the Kahilu Theatre, but he also did a mini livestream concert for Hawaii Tourism Japan two hours before the event. It was also day 34 on his 40-city fall/winter tour of the U.S.    Our “jolly ambassador of aloha” was kind enough to spare a few minutes with me to talk about his new compilation album “Jake and Friends” and upcoming projects.   Jake & Friends is a 16-track album in which Shimabukuro performs duets with a who’s…

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You must admire a performer when they truly believe in the old theatrical credo, “The show must go on!” Well, when life threw Waimea musician Blayne Asing a curveball, and one of his band members couldn’t make a scheduled show in September, he could’ve canceled altogether, but, instead, he honored the date, offered a fantastic solo appearance, and vowed to return with a full band. “Take 2,” as Asing’s Sunday Kahilu concert was billed, was a pretty powerful performance, and this time he brought along several heavy hitters to join him on stage. The ensemble featured some of Hawaiʻi’s top…

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Local neo-psych-rockers make Kahilu debut Keyboardist Kaimalu Harmon’s eerie otherworldly tones opened Mister Peanut’s 90-minute Kahilu Theatre show last Friday. “Set The Controls” is a very spacey jam, much like you’d hear on an early Pink Floyd or Jimi Hendrix album. Lead vocalist Mike Bennet provided random starship trooper commands until the mothership landed on planet Peanut Butter and the song ended. The stage was littered with various props like an old refrigerator, an alien giving the peace sign, and a cardboard cut-out of Chuck Gessert, the theatre’s artistic director. Mind-bending visuals were projected behind the band on a large…

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