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SoCal Reggae Rockers Common Sense Hit Up the Isles

November 27, 2009 - Trisha Smith
It can be frustrating at times living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean as a music enthusiast, as many national acts don't factor the Hawaiian Isles into their tour schedule, whether it be financial conflict or the assumption that we on the islands only listen to reggae and get down Hawaiian beats. It's just not true.

Also, O'ahu seems to receive the bulk of headlining artists, which is understandable due to their larger population and the fact that they have radio stations that actually play their music. But Maui's music scene is bursting with talent, with a wide range of eclectic musicians working hard to be heard and offer an alternative to the stereotypical island rhythms. And recently, more and more residents have been stepping it up and utilizing their resources to make something happen musically on Maui, whether it's supporting homegrown artists, transient talents or welcoming national and international live acts to boogie down. Thanks to On the Rock Productions and Hot Lava Entertainment for bringing some stellar acts to the Isles recently, such as the upcoming show this Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Maui Theatre with illustrious '80s icons The English Beat and Southern California's Common Sense. I discovered the funky grooves of the band Common Sense after being an avid Sublime and 311 fan during the intriguing years of my adolescence.

Their music always made me happy and was fun to groove to whether cruising during a hot Midwestern summer day or dancing at a college party where we longed to be "totally cool" like Californians. Bands like Slightly Stoopid and Pepper have been influenced by Common Sense's reggae-rock blend. I also remember while living in Chicago, reading numerous new releases regarding a legal battle over the band's name with Windy City rapper Common Sense-now known as Common legally.

Although, I was a bigger fan of the soulful lyricist at that time of my life, I respected these Cali boys for standing up for what was rightly theirs. Orange County's Common Sense reached popularity in the mid-nineties, intoxicating the West Coast with their unique style and playing their awesome live shows around the country for adoring fans, old and new. Their last release Don't Look Back is one of those records you can play from start to finish, each track loaded with catchy lyrics and righteous grooves to keep the party going all night long.

Their hit A Little Bit Closer hasn't left my cerebral cortex since it reentered a few weeks ago and has become a solid radio hit on the Mainland. These nice guys have been to Hawai‘i before, receiving quite a positive response from the island's reggae fans and finding its place with alternative rockers who are willing to listen outside the box. "We love Hawai‘i and are so stoked to be headed back," said frontman Nick Hernandez in a recent press release. "We get so much Aloha from everyone; it's just an incredible place." They'll play a few shows on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island before landing Maui for their most exciting show of the tour, in my opinion. I'd love to see them play another show, on their own, somewhere on the Valley Isle before heading out. Stayed tuned...

I've never seen either band live, and I've heard nothing but good things regarding their performances. I can't wait to get down with some great friends to music that has become the soundtrack for many people's lives, and timeless music that will forever remain in my collection. Whether your a rudie guy or gal who enjoys skanking it up on the dance floor, or a groovy babe who likes bumping reggae rock, this Thursday's show is not to be missed. Plus, the Maui Theatre has probably the best sound system on the Valley Isle, and it will interesting to see how the bands utilize this advantage to the fullest.

On the Rock Productions and Hot Lava Entertainment present The English Beat and Common Sense on Thursday, Dec. 3, at the Maui Theatre (‘Ulalena Theatre), located at 878 Front St. in Lahaina. Doors 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at  or call 856-7510. You can also call toll free (866) 448-0718. I heard there's a pretty killer deal from Longhi's that includes dinner and show, and you can also hit up the afterparty for only $10.   Visit, for more information on the bands.  and


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