Hiatus Kaiyote, a “future soul” quartet from Melbourne, Australia, served up a complex musical gumbo consisting of elements from soul, funk, jazz and hip-hop. Even for this seasoned music junkie, the band’s self-described “multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic gangster” concoction was tough to digest, especially live, but it was one that tickled the senses. Hiatus Kaiyote attacked the palate with an array of flavors, giving us dense samplings of several genres. And as befits a healthy diet, the helpings came in moderation; just as we were getting used to the catchy, orgasmic 4/4 groove of “Borderline With My Atoms,” the band quickly transitioned into chaotic, freeform jamming. The band was at its best when it came to delivering silky smooth jazz lounge riffs, such as in “Shaolin Funk Motherfunk.” And for good measure, Hiatus Kaiyote even gave us a bumpin’ R&B interpretation of “Laputa,” the theme to Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film Castle in the Sky. Not bad for a band with a name that sounds like a coyote going on vacation.
The star of the night was clearly frontwoman Nai Palm, whose vocals came off as one part Ella Fitzgerald and one part Lauryn Hill. She carried the offbeat guitar melodies of “Nakamura” while giving us doses of her sultry vocals. And she was humble, too; when a fan asked her to marry him, she gave us a reminder of just how far she’s come. “Sorry,” she said, “But I’m married to my city.” ★★★★★
Photos by Fred Morledge / KabikPhotoGroup.com