I missed the first band on, Kudu Blue from Brighton, but they’re playing to a reasonably full venue by the time I get here and seemed to go down well.
Hiatus Kaiyote have also brought along their own support act, Remi, an MC from Melbourne who, together with Sensible J his drummer and producer, deliver an uptempo 25 minutes of beats and rhymes. It hypes up the already busy venue and is a great way ready the crowd for the main event.
On their web site, Haitus Koyote describe their sound as “multidimensional, polyrhythmic, gangster shit”, but you can add to that “future soul”, “neo soul” or just good tunes created from a wide range of musical influences. The Melbourne quartet are made up of drummer Perrin Moss, bass player Paul Bender, keyboardist Simon Marvin and Naomi Saalfield aka Nai Palm on vocals.
They’ve been playing together since 2011 and have released two albums to date, “Tawk Tomahawk” (2012) and “Choose Your Weapon” (2015), garnering praise from fellow artists like Prince and Questlove from The Roots the way.
Tonight’s 90 minute set is a good mix of the two albums with the sold out crowd clearly enjoying every minute. The music involves layers of rhythm combined with changes in melody and musical styles within the same song. A formula that sounds like it could be a mess but it’s played by a fine bunch of musicians who keep it danceable.
Of course, having a vocalist like Nai Palm helps as there’s no one around who sounds like her. Most of the songs she did tonight are greeted with familiarity, “Shaolin Monk Motherfunk” prompting a sing along when Nai Palm says to “drop into this”.
“Breathing Underwater” gets another big cheer of recognition as does “Nakamarra”, which Nai Palm starts with an impressive set of vocal trills.
On “Only Time All the Time: Making Friends with Studio Owl” there’s a great interplay between bass and drums that adds a rhythmic urgency to the song.
They encore with “Building a Ladder” and that’s the end of their vibrant and entertaining set. A unique show from a great band who are in a league of their own.