Elyse Rogers, center, and Karina Denike front the Dance Hall Crashers.

Rare concert

ALMOST two years have passed since the Dance Hall Crashers last visited Honolulu for a performance that was rumored to be their last in the islands.

Dance Hall Crashers

With local opening band Center City

Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.

7 p.m. today

$18.50, all ages welcome


Tonight at Pipeline Cafe, the band will prove once again that you should never say never -- especially when it comes to playing in one of their all-time favorite places.

"We have a lot of fun every time we come here," said frontwoman Elyse Rogers, who had already arrived in Hawaii for some quality time on Maui with her husband and 10-month-old son when reached by phone earlier this week. "We just have a really good time, and we feel really welcome.

"People ask us all the time (in interviews) ... where our favorite cities are to play, and Honolulu is always consistently in the top three."

A LOT HAS changed for Rogers and bandmates Karina Denike, Mikey Weiss and brothers Gavin and Jason Hammon since the quintet first got together in 1989.

Rogers recently got her MBA degree from the University of Southern California and helps manage bands The Bronx and the newly-reformed Hepcat while living in Hollywood. Weiss is now based out of New York, where he runs a music store in the Bronx. The Hammon brothers have finished their educational careers for the time being (Gavin got his bachelor's degree, while Jason finished up law school) and currently play together in an alt-rock indie band called My Fellow Astronauts. Denike also lives in the Bay Area, where she works as a teacher and performs with a band called Star Nova.

With so much going on in their lives, it's easy to understand why the Dance Hall Crashers only play a limited amount of shows each year. Tonight's concert at Pipeline is only the fourth the band will put on in 2003, and will be the last they do this year, according to Rogers.

"This is really all we want to do right now," she said. "We're all so busy doing a bunch of other things ... so it ends up being just a handful of shows every year. And for right now, at least, that's how we like it.

"There was so much stuff that all of us wanted to do," Rogers continued. "When you're on tour all the time, it's really prohibitive in terms of the rest of your life ... and that was the main reason we stopped touring so much, is that we didn't want to look back and have any regrets on things we had missed out on."

NOW THAT THE members of the Dance Hall Crashers have had a few years to grow up a bit and try different things, can fans expect a resurgence by the group that produced albums like "Lockjaw," "Honey I'm Homely" and "Purr"?

"There's always a chance," said Rogers. "We get asked that a lot. Right now, we're not actively working on a new record, but that doesn't really mean anything.

"So in terms of is there going to be a new record, I can't give you a release date ... because it's not written. But that doesn't mean that it won't get written. We just take everything sort of one day at a time."

For now, a live performance DVD seems to be a better bet for their fans to hope for, according to Rogers. The band was supposed to have a show in Los Angeles taped for that purpose, but the unavailability of a specific sound engineer kept the project from getting underway. But the "next time we play in L.A., we'll probably do a DVD," Rogers said.

So will this be the final time local residents have a chance to see the Dance Hall Crashers? Again, never say never.

"It always might be the last time we're out here," Rogers said matter-of-factly. "That's not a lie, you know? We kind of go day-by-day.

"Luckily, we love Hawaii, and we keep getting invited to come out. It's hard to turn it down -- we have such a good time out here!"

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