Mars on star trajectory


POSTED: Friday, April 30, 2010

THE SCENE before Bruno Mars' all-ages concert last Friday provided the context necessary to understand where the former Honolulu resident is right now with his career.

Just after 7 p.m. that night, the singer formerly known as Bruno Hernandez stood on stage at LEVEL4 Nightclub. Although press materials for the performance said doors would be opened to the general public by then, Mars and his band were still working out issues with LEVEL4's sound.

Without warning, the doors on one end of the room opened, and dozens of people began to stream inside. Mars looked dumbfounded, then realized those being let in were actually members of his extended ohana.

“;Family, this is sound check,”; he explained, stepping away from his microphone to engage in what appeared to be a somewhat strained conversation with LEVEL4 security staff. But instead of pulling a “;rockstar”; move and kicking everyone out until he was done, Mars shook it off and resumed prepping for the first of two performances that night.

Some two hours later, Mars returned to what had become a pretty packed room and launched into a 60-minute set that illustrated who he was as a recording artist, in addition to showcasing some of the influences that got him to where he is today.

Those who remember Mars as Waikiki's “;Little Elvis”; from the 1990s wouldn't have been surprised to hear some of the stuff he played that night, while the all-ages crowd in attendance screamed and cheered as he introduced some of the material produced while living and working in Los Angeles the last few years. Mars mentioned working with the likes of Sean Kingston and Matisyahu before sharing a remixed version of B.o.B.'s “;Nothin' on You,”; which was the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 last week.

“;Hawaii, this is for us, y'all ... this is for us!”; Mars said at the end of his set, before returning a few minutes later with a rendition of Michael Jackson's “;Dirty Diana.”;

After going into the show with relatively low expectations, I was simply blown away by Mars' vocal ability and musical talent. He might not be receiving the star treatment he deserves just yet, but give him time.

I wouldn't be surprised to see him show up on a track with part-time Hawaii resident Kanye West—or someone else with that kind of superstar status—sooner, rather than later.

Visit for photos and video from last weekend's concert ...

FANS OF this year's ”;Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew”; third-place finishers Hype 5-0 were saddened to discover the local dance team's home studio, HyperSquad Dance Company, had been the target of burglars on April 6.

According to HyperSquad administrator Leona Ulep (who is a HyperSquad co-owner and Hype 5-0 member Josh Ulep's mother), criminals broke in at night and stole cash in addition to a flat-screen television, video camera, video projector and other items. To date, no suspects have been arrested in the case.

In order to help raise funds to replace the items stolen, HyperSquad has partnered with clothing company Kallusive to sell official Hype 5-0 T-shirts. A limited number of shirts in adult sizes small through extra large are available for $24 each if picked up at HyperSquad; mail orders to U.S. addresses are $30, while international addresses will cost $36. All mail orders will be sent via the U.S. Postal Service.

According to Leona Ulep, the shirts “;will be sent out on a first-come, first-served basis until we're out of our limited supply.”; Hype 5-0 will also be at Prototype Pearlridge from 2 to 4 p.m. May 8 to sign autographs and raise funds for their studio.

Call 676-4973 for more information ...

”;In the Mix”; drops Fridays in HILife. Contact Jason Genegabus by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).