Live Review: Hiatus Kaiyote + I’lls + Mick Stuart – The Evelyn Hotel (12.07.12)

  • Kat Mahina
  • July 14, 2012
  • Comments Off on Live Review: Hiatus Kaiyote + I’lls + Mick Stuart – The Evelyn Hotel (12.07.12)

Opening the evening was a man and his polymba (Google that one if you don’t know what it is). Mick Stuart had a pleasant demeanour, but after the novelty of watching him play the instrument had worn off, I quickly grew tired of what seemed like one incredibly long song being played out onstage. Fortunately, he called upon some friends toward the end of his set, and the jazz-infused number that ensued was highly entertaining. It’d be nice to see more of that and less of the drawn out polymba solos in future.

Next up were I’lls, who were simply another of the many middle-of-the-road live bands that inhabit this city. The sound mix was off during their set; the dynamics were all wrong, with the guitars louder than the vocals, and the drums overpowering the melodies. To their credit, the last few songs they played were well constructed and showed a lot of promise. At this stage of the game, though, with the band members staring at their feet while awkwardly shuffling onstage with no presence to speak of, their live show was not an experience I’d care to be put through again this year.

After an incredibly long interval that comprised of a ‘beat battle’ competition hosted by the headliners, Hiatus Kaiyote finally took to the stage. Right from the outset, it was easy to see why they’ve been receiving so much praise in the international press.

Frontwoman Nai Palm is a firecracker, and her smooth vocal work sensually floats over the music – which is difficult to describe, with the mix of genres – but in a word, it was awesome. She has a commanding presence that is part siren, part crazy bitch, and thrilling to watch just to see what she’ll do next.

Hiatus Kaiyote do funk, sex, and soul very well, and their energetic performance raised the roof off the Evelyn, which didn’t seem big enough to contain the vibes they were emitting. Their complex arrangements were well executed live, as were the backing vocals and their onstage moves. These guys are the real thing, and if you want to drink and dance ’til the sun comes up, then Hiatus Kaiyote are the band to do that with. They’ve got a residency at the Workers Club next month, so be sure to head on down and see what you’ve been missing out on.