The woman who has grown into a national sensation finally made a hometown appearance on Saturday night when Kawehi played to a packed house at the Bottleneck.

Following a well received acoustic set by local singer-songwriter, Justin Falleaf, Hawaiian import Kawehi performed an intense set of original tunes and personalized renditions of popular songs by artists such as Gotye, Michael Jackson, Nine Inch Nails and others, including her cover-gone-viral of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box.”

With her mix of crooning vocals layered over meticulously built loops of beatboxing, keys, synth beats, and guitar licks recorded live on the fly, the crowd truly didn’t stand a chance agains Kawehi’s infectious grooves and charming on-stage banter.

The near-capacity crowd is nothing new to Kawehi if her stage selfies from the other stops on her multi-national North American tour are any indication. I sincerely doubt the screams for Encore aren’t new either.

Words and photos by LeRoy Pristach