Live: Hiatus Kaiyote brings "future-soul" stateside

Posted by Andrew Martin on Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 5:42 PM


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Hiatus Kaiyote
The Pour House, Raleigh
Thursday, Aug. 15


Melbourne, Australia’s Hiatus Kaiyote label themselves as stewards of future-soul, a sub-genre they created and that aims to capture their eclectic approach. While that might seem self-important on paper, their show at Raleigh’s Pour House last week revealed that there’s really no other way to describe them.

The quartet landed in our capital city following a grassroots-like campaign held by the band’s members and their fans. In addition to succeeding with their crowd-sourced campaign to tour the U.S., Hiatus Kaiyote received vocal support from the likes of Questlove (of the Roots), Erykah Badu, Animal Collective, and the Dirty Projectors. This passing of music from one hand to the next eventually landed them a deal with Sony Music imprint Flying Buddha, which released the band’s striking homemade debut, Tawk Tomahawk, in July. Those aforementioned acts have had a strong influence on Hiatus Kaiyote’s sound.

All of this “buzz” resulted in a series of tours in the States, where the four-piece’s popularity seems to grow by the minute. Most of the Pour House’s audience appeared already-enamored with frontwoman Nai Palm and her bandmates, who delivered a tight, concise performance that lasted around an hour. With only one album and some spare tracks to their name, it’s not like they have a plethora of material to dig into.

No matter: Hiatus Kaiyote kept the crowd enthralled by delivering their progressive sounds through seamless transitions, ear-pleasing melodies, and stellar musicianship. The interplay between drummer Perrin Moss and keyboardist Simon Mavin was especially captivating, with both players capturing and subsequently managing the energy of the set. This was evident on the spiritual “Rainbow Rhodes” and “Malika,” the latter serving as their take on a piece from The Flower Duet opera.

An Australian soul outfit interpreting opera can certainly read strange on paper, but Nai Palm and her golden pipes were more than up to the task. Her range is impressive, though it was lost at times due to the overwhelming nature of the band’s musical presence. Her lyrics were nearly indistinguishable at times, an issue only brought upon the fact that certain tracks, like “Malika,” were introduced with a narrative. Thankfully, this slight flaw didn’t permeate the entire performance, as her sweet coos of “I … love you” arrived with the utmost clarity on crowd-pleaser “Nakamarra.”

It was fitting that the “opening act” was a carefully curated playlist of tracks by artists of the same breed. Concert-goers were greeted by memorable cuts from jazz punk Thundercat, North Carolina’s own The Foreign Exchange, and Los Angeles’ on-the-rise trio KING. This showed, above all else, that the future of soul music is indeed here, and Hiatus Kaiyote is playing an important part.

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