REVIEW: Hiatus Kaiyote at The Observatory OC (2/9/16)

Australian neo-soul group, Hiatus Kaiyote, are currently touring in lieu of their newest record, Raise Your Weapon. They brought their soul-fusion sounds to The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA.

I can sum up their performance up in just a few words:

Seamless. Watching Nai Palm (vocals, guitar), Paul Bender (bass), Simon Mavin (keyboard) and Perrin Moss (percussion) mesh and blend together is unbelievable. You don’t even know it’s happening but at some point in time while watching them you realize that they are so seamlessly gliding through rhythmic patterns through songs like “Molasses” and “Shaolin Monk Motherfunk”.

Incredible Synchronization. This isn’t your average indie-band with your average 4-chord progression. Every band member in this group has their own intricate artistic element going on in each song. You have Nai gliding through riff after riff, Paul keeping the funk alive, Perrin leading the ever changing rhythmic patterns, and Simon killing it on keyboard like he’s on another planet. They’re all so focused on what they’re doing yet so attentive to each other. There’s an incredible connection happening between the four band members every time you see them look up at each other and transition into a new tempo.

 Soul. Hiatus Kaiyote leaves you with soul ringing in your ears for days. And in addition to soul, there are so many more elements in their music. There are bits of jazz and funk blended into one harmonized, polished sound that is Hiatus Kaiyote. We hear all these elements throughout their set. We saw this in all their songs, especially in their performance of “By Fire” that displayed their soulful vocals, the perfectly funky baseline, and a sweet jazzy chord progression.

One of the best moments of the night was their performance of “Breathing Underwater”. Front woman, Nai Palm, mentioned that this particular song currently has a Grammy nomination this year. The song is nominated for best R&B performance, and it’s no surprise as to why. The song goes through so many motions and emotions that seamlessly melt together. Top it off with the flawless vocals of Nai and you have a killer R&B fusion track.

The band has a few more stops this summer in New Zealand, Indonesia, the UK, Ireland, Croatia, and a number of sold out shows in Australia. If you missed them over in California during their stops in Los Angeles and Orange County, I highly recommend snagging your tickets next time they come around – I guarantee your appreciation of music won’t be the same.

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