Review: Hiatus Kaiyote and Harvey Sutherland at Zoo Twilights7 March 2018
The story so far lies with me having first listened to Hiatus Kaiyote when my mate, Ariana, dyed my hair blue and put on ‘Nakamarra’, up to this weekend, when I went with Ariana together to see the neo-soul band play their biggest ever, headline, sold-out show.
Where can I start with Zoo Twilights, aside from the food trucks, giraffes chomping on greens (remember—we were in a zoo), vegan chips, picnic blankets and lush surrounds? Evidently, the crowd that was drawn to this gig ain’t just your average doof or festival hipsters. Here kids have a weird shit boogey, while old couples retreat silently on their boho tapestries, taking in the soulful dance music. The show was opened by Harvey Sutherland coupled with Bermuda. The trio lacked nothing in enthusiasm and energy, successfully transforming the zoo into a disco. Especially with the way that Harvey grooved on his keyboard like he was surfing the waves. After having chucked down the whole bottle of Merlot, it was true that Harvey Sutherland was only the beginning of the night.
The thought of Hiatus Kaiyote coming forth to play tunes from their albums Tawk Tomahawk and Choose Your Weapon next made the back of my knees clammy. As the tinsel-goth air-guitarist Nai Palm got on stage, people unsolicitedly started screaming “you’re so beautiful”. I couldn’t help it too and swiped up my phone to take a picture of the beautiful soul in a glitter leotard, belly dance belt and ombré wig.
The opening song, ‘The Lung’, unraveled a domino of shrills. Listening to Hiatus Kaiyote felt like embarking on a pilgrimage into the third-eye, which was how I had felt before whenever I listened to them with headphones. But the live performance made it different. The usual auditory experience was not only intensified but multiplied: here the voyage down into the third-eye included lucid colours and trippy vibrations.
Under the Full Moon, people vibed it out in effervescence. Whether you prefer air-guitaring, shaka-grooving or head-popping, Hiatus Kaiyote’s multi-dimensional, polyrhythmic gangster shit really gets into you. The powerful honey-dipped vocals and electric funk is a simulacrum of sensations that unironically begs to align your chakras. All the songs were good fun, some even “remind us of how to love”, but I can’t go without mentioning how singles like ‘Laputa’, ‘Molasses’, ‘The World It Softly Lulls’, and ‘Breathing Underwater’, got fans louder than the band themselves.
Suggesting that Hiatus Kaiyote’s performance in their hometown was transcendentally good is an understatement. For you to picture how great they were, let’s just say that I would’ve rather peed into my pants and Docs than leave the centre stage and miss a few minutes of it. Of course, they had to end their act with their Grammy-nominated hit, ‘Nakamarra’. At this point, I couldn’t be too stuffed anymore and pushed myself through the jammed-packed bodies to the front of the stage.
At the end of the twilight performance, not only did I feel satisfied, but borderline with my atoms; disintegrated from this world (small disclaimer: I might have had too much to drink). But the next day when I coincidentally saw Hiatus Kaiyote op shopping in Brunswick, I was transported back to Zoo Twilights. Having suffered a major shock, I was fucking trembling while waiting to speak to them. It’s hard to remember that they’re just humans. Especially after revering them as celestial beings on stage, in the middle of a zoo, and then now, amongst the racks of Savers.