Star-Bulletin Features

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Jonas Kleine of San Diego's Buck O Nine restrings his
guitar before the band's high-energy set at Poifest.

Oh boy, 7,000 show
to feast on 'Poi'

By John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin

THE ironwood trees provided precious shade as the first 97.5 KPOI Poifest went off with no major problems at the Turtle Bay Hilton yesterday. A crowd estimated at well over 7000 turned out. So did six of the seven scheduled bands. (Smash Mouth was the no-show, having missed its flight. KPOI says the band will likely perform here in October.)

Review Yes, there was a fool or two who just had to challenge the security guards. Yes, crowd surfing the pit involves an element of risk despite the prohibition of stage diving. Poifest overall was the best show at Turtle Bay since Joe Henderson headlined the final Asahi Jyunken/Hawaii Jazz Festival in 1993.

Biggest surprise: Cowboy Mouth. Coming to town with no promotion gave them no hype to live up to. Announcing "We came here to celebrate the fact that each and every one of you is alive," they powered through a high-intensity half hour that was half pep rally and half religious revival. "Jenny Says," capped a stellar set. They play a free show at the Honolulu Hard Rock Cafe tonight at 9 p.m.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Matchbox 20 singer Rob Thomas took the stage
early, when the sun was hottest.

Biggest disappointment: No Smash Mouth. Word was that the Radio Events Group had gambled that three bands could play Poifest Sunday after playing shows in California Saturday night. Two made it, although Naked had to borrow equipment from Matchbox 20. (Smash Mouth may play here later; "Hold on to your ticket stubs.")

Best innovations: The autograph booth (Sunburn, Matchbox 20, Naked, Buck O Nine and Cowboy Mouth each came out to meet the fans). The free mist tent. A Hawaii band as opening act.

Areas for improvement: Public parking, although there was no noticeable traffic congestion; hiring a few more security men will keep fans from cutting across the golf course. More ice for the beer pen. More water for the mist tent. More script sellers. An on-site ATM.

By Kathryn Bender, Star-Bulletin
Buck O Nine enjoys the poi.

Overall: Buck O Nine was excellent; they doubled the ambient energy level. The horns were hot. The band set a professionally presented mix of old songs and new. The crowd surfers went berserk.

Local band Sunburn's 54-minute set was longer than their opening act status called for, but if they were covering for late arrivals it didn't show in the quality of their set. They held the interest of the crowd as well. Sunburn's last recording was released without fanfare or promotion; the next should establish them. In the meantime, they're playing Hot Lava on Fridays.

Naked's 20-minute set was a solid debut. They should be back.

The Verve Pipe was far louder and more intense than their "Villains" album suggests. "The Freshmen" capped the set for many. A "just for fun" encore rendition of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" provided a recessional for hardy sun-baked poifesters who stayed until the end.

Poifest Photo Essay
by Kathryn Bender

Do It Electric!

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