When Hiatus Kaiyote toured New York in support of their Grammy nominated album Tawk Tomahawk they heard that the elusive hip-hop artist Madlib was keen to see them play. Usually he doesn’t turn up to anything so they were pleasantly surprised when he arrived early and, to put it into perspective, if Madlib turns up early to see a band play, you know you better check them out when they tour Adelaide. So  this was exactly what I did this week when they played at The Gov.

The first band of the evening was Kirkis, which was fronted by Mathew Kirkis and featured several of the members of Hiatus Kaiyote. They played a mixture of Jazz and modern beats. A theme throughout the evening was the perfect blending of live musicianship with beats, blips and samples from Ableton. The band have an upcoming release on Floating Points’ Eglo Records and it certainly feels like Kirkis sonically fits well with label mates like Fatima and Floating Points.

In between each act Silent Jay and Jace XL performed. Silent Jay used a midi controller and laptop to create some tastey beats with Jace XL from Kirkis joining on the mic for some of their collaborations together. They kept the energy going through the event while the different bands swapped out gear.

Hip-hop artist Remi was next. He was accompanied by a live drummer which added a lot to dynamics of the performance as the two played off each other’s energy. Remi is a talented MC and lyricist and he shifted the tempo of the evening up a notch.

Hiatus Kaiyote have a sound that is hard to pin down. There are obvious jazz and soul influences with a not so subtle hint of Flying Lotus futurism. Lead singer Nai Palm’s bold vocals could be compared to the late Amy Winehouse and I haven’t seen a performer with her stage presence and charisma in a long time. The band effortlessly played through material from their album and new EP By Fire. The highlight for me was their sublime track Nakamarra. A solid night of Jazz inspired Hip Hop from future thinking musicians, outstanding stuff.

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By Fire is out now via iTunes.

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