Brothers Caz findBy John Berger
a new home
Special to the Star-Bulletin
It's Wednesday morning. The telephone rings. Robert Cazimero is fresh out of the Mountain Apple Company jacuzzi and ready to talk about The Brothers' successful engagement at Don Ho's Island Grill. It began with a two-nighter for Valentine's. Both shows sold out and many people were turned away. The following weekend, same story. Now they're playing to capacity crowds every Saturday.
"It's offering us an opportunity to go back to how we used to play music in the old days, (but) with the experience of the years that have passed in between it's really wonderful. It sounds so trite to say this, but we're having too much fun," Robert says.
The fun continues Saturday as Robert celebrates his birthday. Then they'll be back at Don Ho's with an open-ended Saturday-night engagement starting April 3.
The duo's rebirth as a club act has been a long time coming. It's been roughly three years since they closed their ambitious show at the Bishop Museum and about 20 years since they last played a scheduled show in a club setting.
"This is a more glorified kind of a combination of Chuck's Cellar, Duke Kahanamoku's and backyard Hawaiian jam free-for-all in Kalihi," Robert says.
The Brothers perform with the lights of Honolulu Harbor as their backdrop. Robert has long been one of the best narrator/hosts in local music; the party-style format brings out the best in him. Roland's unpredictable ad-libs continue to spark rapid-fire interplay; after almost 30 years working together he and Robert easily trade off the roles of comic and straight man. Add their strong individual voices and trademark harmonies, Robert's acoustic bass and Roland's battery of guitars, and that's all that's needed to fill the club with music.
Most of the songs they play these days are audience requests. "We were saying today in the jacuzzi that I need a secretary to list them. We try as much as possible to honor all of them, but three-quarters of them are slow, so Roland and I try to interject quick ones in between and we forget. If we don't know something we are very honest about saying we don't know it."
Robert and Roland sometimes take a brief time out on stage to recreate half-forgotten lyrics or obscure melodies. Members of the audience have been known to "help" by yelling out the lyrics if the Brothers seem uncertain.
Robert says he's delighted the people keep coming and having a good time.
Celebrity guests have included Melveen Leed ("To have her just return home and be there for our opening night really says 'Friend' "), Kekuhi Kanahele, "my dear Amy" Gilliom, and numerous dancers.
"There's another kind of special guest that doesn't necessarily come to the stage and those are special friends and family who have, just by supporting us, being there, made themselves even more important to us than anybody who could ever take the stage. The list is endless. "
"I always have doubts that we're going to fill a club or a showroom or a theater or the Shell. It's never a given thing, ever. That people actually take the time to make a reservation, stand in line, come in, sit through something like a bad-sound-system night or maybe Roland has a 'sore ear,' you have to give people a lot of credit for that. We really appreciate them and are humbled."
Brothers CazimeroOn stage: Don Ho's Island Grill, Aloha Tower Marketplace
Times: 7:45 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Saturdays (except March 27)
Cost: $5 cover. Dinner service and pupu available. Validated parking.
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