Harvey Sutherland & Hiatus Kaiyote at Zoo Twilights: Review
As a now established staple of the fabric of live Melbourne music, the problem for Harvey Sutherland is not being able to excite audiences, that’s a well-assembled recipe and the craft is perfected. The challenge for Harvey Sutherland as ‘one of those artists most Melbournians have seen at least once’ is finding ways to continue to excite audiences. In the realm of dance music, Sutherland’s music has the air of a chic disco funk heart-throb. On the dance floor, it’s playful, smile inducing, endearing and rewarding - seemingly the Bermuda trio has no expiration date. Their adopted role as fan favourites for most stages they grace has been embraced with an uncompromising enthusiasm equal to that with which crowds receive their performances, their music is relentlessly engaging and for now, Harvey Sutherland rightfully retains his crown as the prefect of Melbourne dancefloors.
The Melbourne Zoo is a magical place. A haven of fond childhood memories protected from the realities of an adult life in Melbourne by the dense, rich greens of the trees which nestle it away from the city. An ideal setting for enjoying music, realised by the flocks who made the most of a barmy early Autumn evening with a picnic.
Hiatus Kaiyote occupy an interesting place in the Melbourne music soundscape. On home soil, they’re more local cult favourites and ironically abroad they inspire a larger fanfare. Nonetheless, in Australia their reputation ensures they are keenly anticipated with hefty expectations. Evidently the well-documented opinions of the band are well founded, each member is a remarkably adept musician (a particular shoutout to Simon Mavin on putting in a shift on a stack on synths and keys). A full moon set between tree branches forged a pretty setting for ‘cosmic neo-soul’ music, music which often presents the facade of random, jumbled jamming. For this discipline there is a particularly sweet spot where a band can produce impromptu, freestyle jams which are in reality, intended forms of practice, Hiatus Kaiyote hit this sweet spot a number of times, particularly in hits Nakamarra and Laputa. There is a fine line in music between self indulgence and powerful displays of musical aptitude which add, not distract from a performance and at times it felt like Nai Palm tickled the line, riding down it on a unicycle. At times, her vocal range weaved a beautiful layer to the whole composition, at other intervals it felt at odds with the rest of the ensemble, but perhaps this was partly down to the sound system which felt a little bass inclined, more suited to the performance previous of Harvey Sutherland.