Blayne Asing’s Valentine’s Day concert was a spectacular event – not only for the outstanding music performed, but for the almost cinematic backdrop that enhanced the evening’s entertainment. Whales splashed offshore, a clap of thunder rumbled during a dramatic pause in” Railway Stations,” and a vibrant rainbow streamed across the Kohala Coast, while Asing and his band played beautiful Hawaiian themed melodies. Could you ask for a better experience?
The Kahilu Theatre offers several special offsite events throughout the year called Gold Concerts. These shows help the Theatre reach out and build awareness about their venue and gain new audiences along the way. The concerts typically take place at private homes on the Kohala Coast, or at exclusive venues like Thursday’s show at the 49 Sand Beach Club House at the Mauna Lani Resort. Proceeds from the Asing concert support the Theatre’s Arts Ed programs, which include performances for local school children and performing arts classes.
Adjacent to the stage was the picturesque Honoka’ope Bay which was created by lava flows dating back approximately 800 years. A crowd of about 60 people gathered around 5 PM and were treated to appetizers and beverages as sunset approached.
Blayne Asing, the Oahu-born singer-songwriter, like his 2015 album title, is a “Young, Old Soul.” At 29, you can hear his country-folk influences coming through – his voice has a silky smoothness like James Taylor or Raul Midón, and songs have a clever touch similar to Jackson Brown’s work. Take for example Asing’s witty lyrics in “Livin’ For Tomorrow,” and his real-life experiences found in “Poor Man Blues.”
“It’s freezing!,” shouted Asing as he opened his 75-minute set and then promptly went into “Here Comes The Sun.” The guitarist rubbed his fingers to keep them warm and nimble, noting that it was a “chilly” 57 degrees when he left his home in Molokai. To mainlanders that might sound comfortable, but for locals, that’s downright sweater weather!
Asing was joined on stage by Mark Lindberg on percussion, and Richard Heirakuji on bass. Oahu based Lindberg also plays with Mango Season in Honolulu. The trio performed a variety of covers and originals, including “A Song For My Pretty Brown Eyes,” a new tune that should appear on Asing’s next album.
Besides his debut record, Asing can be heard on Henry Kapono’s recent multi-artist collaboration record, The Songs of C&K where he does “Railway Stations.” Asing also performed his 2016 single “Molokai Sweet Home,” a song written by Hawaiian musician Malani Bilyeu, who passed away last December.
Keeping with a Valentine’s Day theme, Asing included several sweetheart songs like “She’s My Honey,” and “A Lovely Night For Love.” How could you not feel romantic with the palm trees swaying, a glass of wine in hand, and tender music like this!
Here Comes The Sun | A Song For My Pretty Brown Eyes | Livin’ For Tomorrow | One Day Soon | Sitting In Limbo | Railway Stations | Waimea Cowboy | Yodel | Molokai Sweet Home | She’s My Honey | A Lovely Night For Love | Molokai On My Mind |
Poor Man Blues | A Beautiful World
Visit Blayne Asing’s official website: http://www.blayneasing.com
Steve Roby is a music journalist, best-selling author, and from San Francisco. He’s been featured in the NY Times, Rolling Stone, and Billboard Magazine. Roby is also the Managing Editor of Big Island Music Magazine.
All photos: Steve Roby
Read my 2018 concert review for Blayne Asing at the Kahilu Theatre: https://www.bigislandmusic.net/review-john-cruzs-kahilu-concert-a-family-affair/