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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Five Things You Need To Know About Seeing Kawehi Live
Thursday, June 26, 2014

If you’ve seen any of Kawehi’s videos, which feature her creating beats from scratch through the process of looping, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been wowed by her. Personally, after seeing her work online I put her at the top of my “gotta see live” list, and when her tour hit Rockwood Music Hall last week I was first in line for the show (I’m not being hyperbolic, either. The train I took got me there way too early, so I was literally first in line).

Here’s what I found out about seeing Kawehi live...

1) Her process is incredible to watch

For as amazing as all of her videos are, the in-person experience of watching Kawehi build songs from scratch using samplers, a keyboard, a guitar, her voice, and her laptop, is truly jaw dropping. Her shows are the rare concerts where most of the crowd is quiet for the majority of the time, and this is because everyone is so transfixed by what’s happening on stage.

At times Kawehi starts with a keyboard stroke, at times she starts with beatbox vocal, or a strum of her guitar, and each time everyone witnesses silence being turned into an amazing amalgamation of sounds that in the hands of a novice would be nothing more than white noise, but in the hands of Kawehi are fully formed songs.

2) Her set includes a mix of original work and covers

While Kawehi’s original songs are incredible pieces of work, her set is also very cover-heavy. What’s cool and different about her covers, however, is that unlike when a traditional band does a cover, you might not instantly know what’s going on until three or four sound sample creations in. That a-ha moment (and no, she didn’t cover A-ha) provides something special for the audience members as we suddenly realize what’s being built before our very ears and eyes.

Some of the songs Kawehi covered during her set included favorites from her YouTube page, like Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer,” and Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box,” and she also created a massive mash-up of pop hits that featured everything from Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” to Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” to Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.”

3) She makes the most out of a limited space

While musically Kawehi’s equipment allows her to do just about anything, she’s essentially surrounded by instruments, as she has to be able to reach everything while putting her songs together. That being said, she doesn’t let the close quarters limit her movements, as she frequently takes time to dance, rock out, and generally be moved by the music as she’s creating it. Each song is a celebration in and of itself, and even though she’s a bit boxed in by her equipment, Kawehi doesn’t allow that to box in her emotions, as she visibly lets loose.

4) She genuinely loves what she’s doing

I attended the show with a buddy of mine who is a musician (Lee, who can be found at @leeisnaked), and we both agreed how great it was that everyone could tell Kawehi was genuinely having fun on stage. All smiles, cracking jokes, and telling stories about specific songs and recent tour stops, including an especially amusing anecdote about having to curtail her love of the word “fuck” while performing for children, Kawehi has an ebullience about her, and it’s contagious.

As she facilitated good vibes, and good times, throughout her set, Kawehi also engaged in a significant amount of crowd interaction, as she made it known she appreciated everyone who was there, and even said how thankful she is that she gets to create, and perform, music for a living.

5) You’ll be invited to take part in a fan filled “selfie”

At the end of her set Kawehi took out her phone and invited the crowd to be in a few “selfies” with her. For this particular show she took two, one for each side of the room, and invited people to find themselves in the photo on Facebook and tag themselves in the pic so she’d know who was there (I didn’t end up noticeable in the pic of my side of the room, but it’s all good, you see my face on this site enough as is). This “selfie” tradition yet another way Kawehi connects with her fans.

* Final Verdict

If Kawehi is coming to a city near you, go see her! Don’t hesitate for even a second. She provides one of the most unique live experiences in music, and she’s the kind of artist who, after you see her, you tell everyone you know about her show.


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