Neither rising COVID numbers nor fear of a Christmas in lockdown was enough to deter a thousand strong musical diehards from braving the Sydney streets on a Saturday night to catch Hiatus Kaiyote on their long-delayed tour supporting their mind-bending progressive neo-soul opus Mood Valiant.
It’s not for nothing that the Melbourne-based outfit has endorsements from the likes of Prince and Erykah Badu, alongside samples of their music borrowed by the likes of Drake, Beyonce, and Kendrick Lamar.
However, things are as far from the shiny and sterile LA sheen as they can be here with the quartet, made up of Messrs Perrin Moss, Paul Bender, Simon Mavin and, of course, frontwoman Nai Palm – bolstered by the excellent support of trusty vocal trio Jace, Loreli and Jay Jay – providing an hour and a half of edge-of-the-seat musical wizardry, spinning a web of experimental hip hop, fusion, neo-soul and breakbeat jams (among others) with masterful ease, backing tracks be damned.
Newer cuts ‘And We Go Gentle’, ‘Chivalry Is Not Dead’ and fan favourite ‘Red Room’ was particularly impressive, with the sonic freakouts of Mood Valiant wonderfully recreated, lapped up by a crowd of who appeared to be mostly musical prodigies (when Nai asked who in the room were musicians themselves, the crowd accordingly raised their jazz hands as one).
Of course, a set of Hiatus Kaiyote standards isn’t without musical risk, and Marven’s organ-like synth rig (un)helpfully obliged, “sabotaging” the band just before an airing of the classic ‘By Fire’.
However, the band pressed on unperturbed, churning out a moody selection of new cuts to send the crowd on their merry way, with the piano-led aria ‘Stone Or Lavender’ the high point of the evening, marked by Palms’ incredible vocal control stunning the crowd into silence.
Having toured the world many times over and relentlessly expanded their creative vision, Hiatus Kaiyote is a band that refuses to play it safe, and as a result, their live performances are rough around the edges in all the right ways, gear failures and alll.
‘Technical difficulties’ is, after all, part of the memo that draws fans to their music in the first place.
The ‘Mood Valiant tour continues next year. Dates below, find tickets here.
Haitus Kaiyote, Mood Valiant Australian Tour, 2022
Tuesday, 18th January – The Form, Melbourne
Wednesday, 19th January – The Forum, Melbourne
Saturday, 22nd January – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Saturday, 5th February – Odeon Theatre, Hobart
Wednesday, 23rd February – Astor, Perth
Thursday, 25th February – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide
Friday, 26th February – Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide