LIVE: Haitus Kaiyote at Le Poisson Rouge

by Reginald Duvivier

Fresh off the showcase that was The Circus at SXSW, Haitus Kaiyote touched down in New York City for a handful of dates. Their Manhattan show at the intimate Slipper Room was moved to the much larger Le Poisson Rouge due to brisk ticket sales; even that sold out. The crowd was heavy with diehard fans that discovered the group the old fashion way, word of mouth, when they snuck onto the stage with no introduction.

Haitus Kaiyote strength is that while they are a relatively new band individually they are all seasoned performers. Bassist Paul Bender and drummer Perrin Moss had no problem seamlessly extending melodies ideas into full fledged jams as they morphed the rhythm back and forth from sugar sweet to funky. You could numerous hip-hop fans cribbing mental notes from keyboardist’s Simon Mavin’s little riffs. Everything was tied together by front woman Nai Palm who switched between guitars and keys while singing crowd favorites like, ‘Nakamarra’.

The vibe at Le Poisson Rouge was celebratory; the band was happy to be playing in New York and for the crowd who’s only chance to get a glimpse of the Australian band playing live was on youtube clips. Some critics have assigned their sound the term ‘future soul’ but it does the band disservice; it’s just soul music period; influenced by the past AND by the present.