SUCCESS: Melbourne band Hiatus Kaiyote has received two Grammy nominations, one for each of their music releases.
SUCCESS: Melbourne band Hiatus Kaiyote has received two Grammy nominations, one for each of their music releases. Contributed

Hate us or Hiatus, Kaiyote

With a lead singer called Nai Palm and a style of music described as future soul, Hiatus Kaiyote is nothing if not original.

Looking every part the rock star, Naomi Saalfield (Nai Palm) is part 1950's pin-up, part rock chick and definitely the focus of the audience.

With presence, style and attitude, the singer delighted fans filling the front section of her second Bluesfest 2016 gig.

Further back the reaction was a little more confused, as the uninitiated attempted to come to grips with the sound and the look.

"Is that a hair in her mouth or…what's that black thing on her face?" questioned one audience member.

And when asked to describe the music the response is not future soul, but Jazz, or Jazz fusion.

The fusion part sounds a little like a jazz cassette being slowly chewed by an old tape deck - if one were to be particularly unkind.

Clearly the mass of followers swaying before the stage would disagree.

Wearing huge earrings bearing the face of what appeared to be Michael Jackson and singing a song inspired by Japanese cartoons (or anime), Nai Palm and the band certainly know how to keep it interesting.

Complex layers of sound and full throttle delivery showed they earned their space at the festival.

That black thing, for those who were wondering, is a tattoo of a scratch and not as crazy as it sounds - the result of a strong connection with an animal, both literal and emotional.

And although Hiatus Kaiyote's postmodern musical outpourings may not be everyone's cup of tea, I'll admit to abandoning the gig in search of blues, Nai Palm's past words could ring true here: "It's a gift because it's an opportunity to evolve and that's why we're here, to experience and adapt and evolve."



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