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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, June 20, 2003

Tino's exuberance generates boomer fun

By Derek Paiva
Advertiser Entertainment Writer

Tino and the Rhythm Klub's mix of showmanship and dance-floor classics generates enthusiasm and nostalgia from the boomer-heavy crowd that packs Sheraton Waikiki's Espirit Nightclub every weekend. The energetic Tino encourages an uninhibited crowd to get out of their seats and show off their best (and worst) dance steps.

Photos by Jeff Widener • The Honolulu Advertiser

Tino Ibach's enthusiasm and stage presence are matched only by his audience's fondness for throwing down moves.
It was easy to figure out why Tino and the Rhythm Klub has been packing post-twentysomething locals and tourists into the Sheraton Waikiki's Espirit Nightclub weekend after weekend for going on two years now. Three words: exuberance, showmanship and boogie.

An accomplished seven-member collective of hard-working musicians with deep cover knowledge comfortably spanning the generational chasm separating Michelles Phillips and Branch, TRK knows that much of its boomer-heavy audience shows up looking to dance. And, bless 'em, TRK happily provides the kind of musical comfort food now a Honolulu nightlife rarity for a generation not attuned to the subtleties of current hip-hop, house and R&B.

Leading the Rhythm Klub is Tino Ibach, of gifted acrobatic vocals and feet, and oozing charismatic stage presence. Watching Ibach work the stage and audience with energetic abandon and infectious joy, you'd never guess the man did four of his four-hour shows every week. The Rhythm Klub, for its part, provided solid backup, highlighted by brass and percussive accents and the occasional solo.

It was tough not to fall for the Espirit crowd, too. I could easily crack wise about a cover of Tavares' "Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel" eliciting the very same screams of recognition a 50 Cent jam might at Pipeline Café. But it was difficult not to come away impressed by dance-floor moves that included everything from ballroom and salsa to disco and sambas. At times, Espirit's parquet floor seemed way too small for the spatial demands of its rowdy denizens.

A middle-aged blonde in a short skirt and tight tube top whipped her long tresses uncomfortably close to our floor-side table, while screaming and dancing to "Raspberry Beret." Doobie Brothers and Bee Gees medleys later encouraged similar "bad girl" behavior from her.

The Doobie Brothers hits medley notwithstanding, I found TRK most enjoyable when interpreting Latin-flavored covers and, truth be known, disco. Covers of Ricky Martin's "Maria" and "She Bangs," in particular, were so full of energy, Ibach couldn't help showing off some wicked footwork and spins.

As required by state cover-band law, TRK offered dance-floor-filling takes of "Brick House" and "Mustang Sally." The former was made particularly entertaining when one ex-disco king busted some wicked old-school moves near our table and began singing the lyrics to his duly impressed paramour. Outlining her hourglass figure with his hands, he took particular glee in salaciously purring the song's eww-inducing "36-24-36 ... oh, what a winning hand" line.

As Chic said so succinctly, so long ago, "Feel the rhythm. Chant the rhyme."

Got a night spot, night event or club event we should check out? Reach Derek Paiva at dpaiva@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8005.

• • •

What: Tino & The Rhythm Klub.

Where: Espirit Nightclub, Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, 922-4422.

When: 8:30 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays-Thursdays; 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays.

Our arrival/departure: 10:30 p.m./12:30 a.m. on a Friday.

Cover: $5.

Younger than 21 OK? No.

Age of crowd: 30s-60s.

Attire suggestion: Leave the jeans at home. On men: dress shirts/slacks, aloha shirts, sweaters, polos, khakis. On women: blouse/skirt combos, cocktail dresses, tanks, camisoles, capris and one very fluorescent mu'umu'u.

What we drank: Kamikaze, Luxury cosmo ($13 total).

Peak crowd while there: About 150.

Queue?: No.

Dancing?: Yes.

Sample music: "In The Midnight Hour," "The Game of Love," "Boogie Wonderland," "Europa."

Overheard line of the night: "If Chuck stands me up one more time tonight, that's it! ... Do you think I need a breast lift?" — One friend to another, near the Espirit entrance.

• • •

Night notes ...

The Rebel Girl Underground monthly returns to Chuck's Cellar Saturday, enhancing its intriguing mix of DJs, spoken word and art with funk vocals, breaking and live drums and sax. On the tables, DJs Zita, Primmitiva and Rebel Girl; on verse, Selah, Sarah Daniels and, again, Rebel Girl. At 150 Ka'iulani Ave., 10:30 p.m.-2 a.m. $5 (free before 10:30 p.m.).

Jerome moved back to New York City. So now the Jerome James Collective is officially the Modern Young Bop Trio. New name, same traditional and modern experiments with jazz and alternative compositions. All three members carry impressive local jazz resumes. Definitely worth checking out. 9 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays at Lewers Loft and Lanai, 226 Lewers St. No cover. One drink minimum. 922-5714.

Komo Low and the W Hotel's Friday-night Wonderlounge party celebrate the first anniversary of their live music collaboration with OM Records with a return engagement by electronic soul turntable/vox duo Soulstice. Expect vocalist Gina Rene and turntablist Mei-Lwun to display their signature trip-hop stylings flecked with R&B, jazz and funk, and even a little bit of freestyle. $20. Doors open at 9 p.m. at the Diamond Head Grill. 922-3744.