Hiatus Kaiyote @ The Standard, 26/10/13
Hiatus Kaiyote: every time I say that name I feel like I should be jumping away from an explosion yelling, “mother fucker!”. Aside from having a totally awesome name, the Melbourne based free-form jazz four piece, which consists of Nai Palm (vocals & guitar), Paul Bender (bass), Simon Mavin (keyboard) and Perrin Moss (drums), finds that perfect note, particularly in their live show, between smooth flowing melodies and edge of chaos, polyrhythmic peaks. The band has carved themselves out quite a nice niche since the release of their 2012 debut Tawk Tomahawk, with the like of Erykah Badu, Flaying Lotus and Questlove, all expressing enthusiasm. More recently they’ve also released a remixed version with contributions from Willow Beats, Dufrane, S I L E N T J A Y and many others. I’d caught up with the band at their Peat’s Ridge show at the beginning of the year and have been dying to see them again since. Needless to say I jumped at the opportunity when I heard they were playing The Standard on the 26th of October.
I made it just in time to catch most of the support, S I L E N T J A Y, a fellow producer from Melbourne. His smooth beats, with great use of bending and sampling, were well crafted and he was also a backup singer along with two others during Hiatus Kaiyote’s set. Kaiyote began with their
gentle and sample heavy ‘Malika’ which was a great start to the set before rolling in the more familiar and chaotic, jazz/soul tunes. ‘Nakamarra’, which is always great live and I just can’t get past the awesome rhythm of the vocals and lyrics, was even better this time around as the backup singers really added some extra weight and substance to the already blinding tune. ‘Mobius Streak’ was also another standout really giving Simon a chance to stretch those fingers with the rolling keyboard melody and everybody really stepped up the songs energy compared to the album version. ‘Lace Skull’ and ‘Ocelot’ rounded out the familiar songs, with the latter really getting the whole crowd out and dancing. Fans were also treated to a few new songs from their forthcoming album which will be sure to turn even more heads.
Nai as a front-woman is excellent, confident and commanding while maintaining an approachable and amicable presence through her natural crowd interactions and her vocal range is nothing short of astounding. Perrin and Bender maintain a hypnotic backbeat, all syncopated beats and riffs, seemingly pulling together a strong rhythm out of nowhere, leaving Simon to move around in any direction over that foundation. It’s almost surprising that they don’t get in each others way. With four extraordinarily talented people, all playing such complex and chaotic music, they work as a team effortlessly. The evidence is in their already large following while playing what would be traditionally referred to as rather inaccessible music.
With another excellent show under their belt the band are back off to the U.S. for a bunch of appearances. With the band spending more and more time over there I hope they release their second album soon so that they have another excuse tour their home shores.