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Willie K to rock the Akebono on Saturday


Whether it’s blues, rock, pop, R&B, Hawaiian, jazz, reggae, kachi kachi — and even opera, it appears there’s no type of music Willie K can’t perform.

Maui’s musical icon will play a rare East Hawaii show Saturday night at the Akebono Theater in Pahoa. Doors open at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8.

“I haven’t played the Hilo-side in a couple of years,” the multiple Na Hoku Hanohano award winner said Wednesday. “I’ll be playing with the Warehouse Blues Band.”

Willie does play the Big Island often, but those dates are usually the high-end private convention gigs in the West Hawaii resorts that aren’t open to the general public, or as he puts it: “Mitsubishi, Oracle, the banks.”

Asked what to expect Saturday night, Willie answered “Everything.”

“I always do every bit of what Willie K is that I possibly can,” he said, adding he’s looking forward to playing the Akebono.

“I think it’s a great place,” he said. “It’s a great hangout. It’s a perfect blues shack, if you will. It’s awesome to have a place like that in a little town like Pahoa.”

This performance will be decidedly more intimate than the outdoor set he played before at least 1,000 Wednesday evening at the Honolulu Zoo’s “Wildest Show in Town.”

Also on Saturday’s bill is Yoza, Hawaii’s Hoku-winning acoustic soul woman who now calls Los Angeles home and flies back for special performances.

Willie K holds court at Mulligans on the Blue in Wailea and has his own blues festival on the Valley Isle. It’s not unusual to see him sharing the stage with luminaries such as Willie Nelson, Mick Fleetwood, Elvin Bishop, Doobie Brothers’ guitarist Pat Simmons and Steven Tyler.

Videos of him performing in January with the Aerosmith frontman, who’s a part-time Maui resident, went viral.

“We had a great time. He jumped on the stage. He grabbed the mic and we sang some Aerosmith songs,” Willie said.

Two of his four children are still at home and Willie spends most of his time these days with them and wife Debbie on Maui.

“I’m actually slowing down on my touring because I have children I need to grow up with,” he quipped. “Last year, we actually cancelled a bunch of tour dates. I had a world tour set up from the mainland to Asia to South America. And I just cancelled it while I was on the mainland. I was talking to my kids on Skype and I realized that I’ve been talking to them for years on the computer. So, I told my wife when I came back from that tour to cancel all my tours. She said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Cancel them. I cannot do this anymore. I gotta be with my kids.’ And that was the end of that.”

Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant in Pahoa.

Call 965-9990 for tickets and more information.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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