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“Hey how you doin’?” Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote greeted the crowd with joy and excitement, dressed in skull tights that would glimmer fluoro green in the stage lights, a top hat, a singlet and a freshly picked flower on her hat, given to her by a creative fan.
If you are unfamiliar with Hiatus Kaiyote, just start off with a teaspoon of Erykah Badu, a dash of Bilal, a pinch of Jill Scott, a cup of The Roots, 50mls of Lauryn Hill and a side of J Dilla. Then you’ll be close to getting yourself the recipe of uncanny goodness that is otherwise known as Hiatus Kaiyote.
These Melbourne cats are neo-soul in its essence. The Roots, Erykah Badu, Jean Grae and a slew of other genius musicians have all spoken highly of the Hiatus crew and their musical ventures. Hiatus Kaiyote is food for the soul, like your mother’s homemade chicken noodle soup, but much more satisfying and best served live.
Nai Palm‘s vocals are as striking as the bass line in their first song, Mobius Streak, a soothing chant-like anthem composed of crisp drums, jazzy vocals and clingy acoustics. Somewhat reminiscent of Radiohead‘s Bloom, but with haunting vocals and a soulful touch, it echoed throughout FBi Social in Sydney.
The increasingly packed crowd was hypnotised as the band performed Sphynx Gate, Nakamarra, Malice and Leap Frog. The longer the show went the band loosened up more and started to get into the groove, touching on the more experimental cuts from their catalogue.
There was a brief pause between songs, with the snare breaking and the drums in general looking rather shaky. Hiatus Kaiyote drummer Perrin Moss, carried along on beat whilst the bassist, Paul Bender, had a laughing fit at his expense. It did not however effect the overall mood of the band and they proved how versatile they are with the ability to improvise on the spot, something not many bands can achieve in this day and age.
Despite the technical difficulties, the band continued to open up and provide an insight to their home, their personalities and their music. This performance wasn’t entertainment, it was more of a welcoming or an introduction to their life. If you’re a hipster and you know it, hop on board the Hiatus Kaiyote train before they set foot on a journey of growth and vivid success.
They ended the night with a 10 minute jam session that will easily go down in Hiatus history, busting out with sharp keys, a funky baseline and J Dilla-like sloppy drums. The crowd were hype and the band was in their essence and in pure ecstasy. It was not only admirable, it was inspiring and a great end to the show.
Just as the set finished, being the random weirdo that I am, I approached and commended Nai Palm. Introducing herself as Nai Nai (pronounced “nay nay”), we conversed and discussed their great performance, comparing my love of their music to my favourite album of all time, Common‘s Like Water For Chocolate. With excitement, the humble Nai recommended I check out Miguel Atwood-Ferguson‘s interpretation of Nag Champa by Common, and further exclaimed that she will be performing at in the States next year, with the possibility to work with Atwood-Ferguson himself.
Be sure to check out their EP, Tawk Tomahwk here.
Photos by Michael Perelini