Kapono Rocks The Blue Note


Kapono and friends jam out at Blue Note Hawaii

Henry Kapono, a triple-threat musician who is well known as a vocalist, guitarist, and thrilling performer, rocked out Blue Note Hawaii in front of a soldout crowd of roughly 300 people Friday. It was my first time experiencing the Grammy-nominated, 14 Na Hoku Hano Hano Awards (Hawaii Grammys) award winner in person in such an intimate setting as it was also my first time at Blue Note.

Blue Note Hawaii is run by Blue Note Entertainment Group, owner of music clubs in New York; Washington, D.C.; Milan; and two locations in Japan and serves as Hawaii’s premier venue for world-renowned artists, from jazz and blues to Hawaiian favorites. It is located inside the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort on the vibrant Kalakaua Avenue. However, once inside, the hustle and bustle is forgotten and all that can be heard is the sound of music and happiness from concertgoers singing and laughing.

Doors opened at 5 p.m. as VIP ticket holders had the opportunity to meet Kapono and the other artists performing while others hung out at tables and the bar conversing before show time. At exactly 6:30 p.m. the lights went off and Kapono took the stage solo with just his guitar in hand. His individual set, which lasted for about 30 minutes, was a perfect mix of music and story telling in which he talked about his come up in Hawaii and in the music scene.

“I have always appreciated the Blue Note staff for opening their doors to all of the local talent on island and giving us a platform to play in front of fans here in Hawaii,” said a grateful-feeling Kapono to the audience.

After playing a few more songs solo, my food and drinks arrived right as the rest of the band came up to join Kapono. For a little more than $20, I was able to have a great burger, side of fries, and a drink all while listening to music.

The first guitarist and vocalist called on stage to join Kapono was Hawaii-based artist Johnny Valentine. Valentine, whose voice and electric guitar skills later rocked the venue, is the uncle of Bruno Mars. In fact, Mars, who is now one of the top-selling artist of the generation, got his start performing alongside Valentine years ago in Waikiki down the street at the Sheraton.

Before fans knew it, there was a full entourage on stage playing Kapono classics including his hit song “Friends.”

“Friends” starts off with him singing,”It’s so nice to see familiar faces in the crowds, it’s so nice to see friends of mine enjoying themselves so everyone get happy we are friends.”

As this song played, smiles and positive energy could be felt through out the venue as just about everyone joined in singing while waving the table candles in the air.

Being the first night of December, as the stage lights turned green and red for the holidays Kapono ended the night singing “Merry Christmas To You,” filling the crowd with holiday joy.

The venue is small enough that concertgoers can feel connected, while also having state of the art sound and lights. As this was my first experience at The Blue Note, I was impressed with the talent and close feeling between the fans and the artist, and would highly recommend going to any music fan.