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The Reflectacles & Folk Uke

May 20, 2010
Trisha Smith

At the helm of this renaissance is one of Maui’s beloved sons, Micah Nelson, and five like-minded creative forces that have formed a new psychedelic, folk-rock collective in West L.A. called The Reflectacles.

He may be the son of American legend Willie and sustainable angel Annie, yet the zealous energies that power Micah qualify him in a whole other realm of reverence.

After leaving Hawai‘i to join his older brother Lukas—also an incredible musician, who formed with Micah the Maui band 40 points—in L.A. a few years ago, he almost left. Luckily, the world’s “magnetic creative forces” pulled him toward new friends eager to conceive art and music, while still maintaining their witty humor.

Article Photos

West LA’s The Reflectacles showcase their artsy antics and beautifully layered sound this weekend at Stella Blues and Charley’s. Arrive early to snag a pair of “reflectacles” at the door for an out-of-this-world “acoustic high,” said drummer Micah Nelson (second from right).

“The people I met here are just as weird as me,” said drummer Micah, who also sings and plays his true love, a “mandolin-‘ukulele hybrid.” “I’ve been so blessed to fall into this inspirational world.”

After winning a college band competition, The Reflectacles were taken on as an experimental project for a music studies class. Recently, the sextet finished their debut with brilliant producer Eric Thorngren (Talking Heads, Violent Femmes). The five-track EP, Wiley Post, is named after a street near the house, or “neo-surrealistic museum” as Micah called it, where some of the members live.

Micah is also “chain-stoking” about their booming scene at the Cozy Castle Collective warehouse venue. (See my Maui Weekly blog for more on this future music landmark and the educational paradigm of The Reflectacles LLC.)

Their songs embrace solid musicianship and good old-fashioned harmonies, with psychedelic undertones that put them in a lucid rock universe where The Band, The Beatles, Wilco and The Flaming Lips coexist.

It’s evident that musical talent runs in the family, as sister Amy Nelson performs as one half of the homegrown outfit, Folk Uke.

Since 2000, Amy and Cathy Guthrie—Arlo’s daughter—have dazzled audiences far and wide with cleverly comical lyrics and a delightful stage presence. With Amy on guitar and Cathy on ‘ukulele—although sometimes they switch onstage—the dynamic duo is always entertaining, whether they are delivering “off-color” lines or sweet country girl attitude.

Join The Reflectacles and Folk Uke this Friday, May 21, at Stella Blues Café in Kīhei for a one-of-a-kind music showcase, beginning at 9 p.m. with Maui’s own folk soul sister Gail Swanson opening. Expect a few special guests. Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door. Call 874-3779.

Then head up to the North Shore for a family affair at Charley’s in Pā‘ia on Saturday, May 22; show starts around 8 p.m. The bluegrass bandits of Portland sensation, Sugarcane, are set to open. Tickets are $20 at the door—no pre-sale. Call 579-8085.

Experience Hawai‘i’s first show in “Reflectavision.” The crafty guys give out paper spectacles called “reflectacles” to add to their already engaging show.

“They’re not 3D,” said Micah. “Wearing them, you can enjoy an acid trip of sorts, without the acid, as light sources reflect and scatter, creating these rainbow shafts of sparkling starlight. It’s like a ‘soul-gasm.’”



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