NXNE Review: Blue Hawaii, June 13, Comfort Zone


At the beginning of Blue Hawaii’s set at The Comfort Zone, Raphaelle Standell-Preston addressed the fairly packed room: “I have a question. Do you guys wanna dance or no?” The crowd of course roared in approval because when does an artist ever ask that question and not expect an answer in the affirmative? Well, maybe Morrissey. I could see Morrissey doing that.

The show ended up turning into one big party and really, its kind of hard to review a dance party. But I’ll try. Blue Hawaii were one of the more buzzed about bands of NXNE and they put on a very good, very energetic show. From the very beginning of their set, the band and crowd fed off each other’s energy. And while it may not be fair to compare Blue Hawaii to Standell-Preston’s other gig in Braids, she is the singer for each group and thus becomes the focus of attention, so it seems inevitable to do so. And as far as the energy of the live set, Blue Hawaii had a very different energy than does Braids. Braids sound great but in my opinion are more about the sonic experience than putting on “a show” in the grandest sense of the word. Blue Hawaii, on the other hand, really brought it.

Raphaelle was pretty energetic and animated and had a super positive vibe going on throughout the night. “I know its a cliche, but you only live once and we’re all gonna die,” she said at one point, encouraging the crowd to live in the moment. Adding to the show were some light effects and projections, helping to set a mood that was quite different live than one would expect from their recorded output. Speaking of projection, Raphaelle let loose with a few wicked screams from time to time to help punctuate the bass heavy music. I went into this show as more of a curious observer with no big expectations and ended up leaving fairly impressed. Coming off of a serious Mikal Cronin high (his set preceded theirs in the room upstairs at The Silver Dollar), Blue Hawaii couldn’t have really matched the energy of his set but I was pleased to find that they still kept things going with a different kind of energy.

Posted on by Paul in North By Northeast