The Fine Line Music Cafe in downtown Minneapolis was packed Wednesday night as Australian neo-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote played an eclectic set as part of their “Choose Your Weapon” tour. Last visiting the Twin Cities in May, the band since released their second album, gaining a momentous following amongst R&B, jazz, and hip-hop fans.
Opening was local singer Mina Moore and her band of soulful instrumentalists. As she danced around the stage flailing her 4-foot-long braids and cueing hits and entrances, the energy radiated through those around me. The dance moves, on-stage and off, became increasingly spastic as I felt the crowd growing ever more excited for the headlining act yet to come.
After exhausting all my conversation regarding how funky Moore was, the house went dark and as the golden jewelry-clad band walked on stage, kitten-ear headpieces and all. The keyboard droned as the bass line to “Moebius Streak” snuck in. Soon the sea of people was bobbing to the beat, which was frequently interrupted by a metric modulation or a time signature change.
It was exhilarating and eventually exhausting trying to keep up with the sheer rhythmic complexity, let alone trying to comprehend how the rhythm section was so tight through all of it. On top of it all, vocalist Nai Palm consistently provided the icing on the groovy cake.
As the night dwindled, the band played a few instrumental jams before performing their encore set. At this point I noticed I hadn’t seen any players make a mistake. Through all the polyrhythms and meandering sections of tunes, the beat was reliably there underneath everything, inducing unto listeners a trance-like jig to accompany the fiery, funky music.