My Hawaii unassumingly took the stage at the Echo last night (Tuesday Aug. 27) around 9 p.m. The crowd was still gathering but as soon as the band took the stage they had the rooms eyes and ears. From the looks of things this was not going to be a regular rock show. Six guys and their instruments made for a crowded Echo stage, so much so that the bass player had to set up in the far off dark corner of the stage.
The soft subtle vocals from songsmith Yohei Shikano painted a timeless picture. The melodic music provided ambience to make the picture become moving frames which together told a story. This was art and anyone listening could feel it. The music from My Hawaii is at times experimental and almost trippy in an early psychedelic pop sense and other times kind of Edward Sharpe-ish but with less of the cult vibe.
My Hawaii’s sound is fresh, clean, and obviously cared for. Their credibility for rearranging went up with a pleasant surprise on the unique version of American Girl by Tom Petty. Their slowed down and altered version was so disguised that it wasn’t until the chorus that most people realized it was a cover.
A highlight of the night at the Echo was the last song Numb Fingers, which is also the last song on their recent vinyl EP, Definition of Friends. This song had a bit more personality than the others and has real radio potential.
The band is centered around the vocal, guitar, keyboard, melodica, and initial song idea of Yohei Shikano. From there the sky is the limit to what these top notch musicians, together called My Hawaii, can create with their vast array of instrumentation.
The rest of the band includes Miles Senzaki, Dan Seeff, Jens Kuross, Justin Deming and Grant Lovelace. The instruments ranged from guitars, keyboards, and tambourine to xylophone, melodica, harmonium and the occasional key jingling.
My Hawaii care about their sound and know exactly what it takes to get that tone. In an interview with them at the Echo they said “Yohei writes to conjure the mood or emotion” and they back his songwriting by capturing the appropriate tone. There is no stepping on each others feet in this band.
My Hawaii doesn’t seem like they over think the music that they play though. It all comes together very natural. This is the music you might hear if you were in a living room surrounded by pinnacle talent in the music industry, and they just picked up their instruments and started jamming. Individually the members of My Hawaii have all been band leaders in one form or another which make them musical Jedi’s when they collaborate.
There will be more reflection from the music of the band My Hawaii at the Echo in the coming days.