CharlieRED and Hiatus Kaiyote at Le Poisson Rouge 3/22/13

CharlieRED and Hiyatus Kaiyote

Le Poisson Rouge

March 22, 2013

My dear friend, colleague and fellow blogger, Dan Harpaz over at Smoovtunes had put me on to the Melbourne, Australia-based soul and funk act Hiatus Kaiyote – thanks in part to a song he had posted up on his site. The last time I had seen him as at George Clinton’s River to River Festival set in Lower Manhattan, and even then it was brief, thanks in part to a gigantic crowd who was out to catch the funk legend … So Dan invited me out to come out and catch Hiatus Kaiyote, and I decided – well why the hell not? And although I had my camera for some photos, I didn’t take much in the way of formal notes – it can be pleasurable to go to a show as something of a normal concertgoer, I must say – I had some distinct impressions that I did make a mental note of, and I wanted to mention them briefly.

Opener, CharlieRed had a sound that mixed elements of old school soul, Jimi Hendrix-styled psychedelic rock and hip hop – a virtual survey of modern music of the past 50 or so years. The audience and the band seemed to feed off each other but to be honest, I found CharlieRED kind of corny, as though they were a hip hop and soul-inspired wedding band. And perhaps worse was that I kind of felt like their setlist wasn’t as well thought out or put together as it should have been. it’s one thing to pay homage to a great artist or a great song to get the crowd going or even to make the connection between your work and a great artist, but when it’s done constantly throughout a set, it feels like filler at best. All in all, it was frustrating to watch. 

Hiyatus Kaiyote’s sound is a heady mix of soul, funk and modern jazz. Songs have interesting compositional quirks such as changing time signatures, changing keys, and at times they come off at weird and unexpected angles. It’s funky as hell but on a certain level, it’s not totally meant to be danceable – the rhythms are too odd, the songs are composed with several different movements that push and pull at each other. It’s best suited to vibe out on, more than to shake your ass to; and I can’t say that I saw anyone really dancing. But somehow, giving them a two hour set seemed a bit much and after a while, some of their material’s weaknesses began to show for me – after about the 75 minute mark, their set started to feel extremely long to me, and I became bored and anxious for the set to end. This is despite the fact that each of the members of the band can really fucking play. 

Honestly, for any act to have a two hour set without a break, that act has to have a lengthy catalog and be a lot more established than Hiyatus Kaiyote. How they were allowed to play a two hour set, is beyond me. And on a certain level I was kind of disappointed. 


Hiyatus Kaiyote 

For these photos and the rest of the photos from this night of music, check out the Flickr set here: