There was a primal air in the room when front-woman to Hiatus Kaiyote, Nai Palm (aka Naomi Saalfield) burst onto the stage howling to the audience. Naturally, concertgoers responded—joining the pack, crying in the chorus for a night that would awaken the wild within.
Like how the music can’t be confined to one genre, the animal experience of sound traversed all emotions leaving the crowd feeling connected.
In her first show post-surgery, Nai twinkled like the cosmos under the stage lights, trapping the audience in her wolverine gaze and otherworldly vocal arrangements.
In November last year, she underwent surgery to remove her right breast.
In a post to social media, she likened the surgery to the folklore of Amazonian women.
“They would remove their right breast in order to be better archers.”
“I want to be a beacon of light for others … and for them to know they should feel safe to be whatever hybrid superhero kind of wonderful they choose to be,” she said.
Her profound personal message exudes from this shero and the music the band creates speaks of a place of pain, growth and rebirth.
Every member of the audience was going through their own pain, has their own scars and battles their own demons. The Melbourne quartet turns their experiences and life lessons into art, cultivating a space for people to consolidate their own journey, or just let go and lose themselves in the music.
Having not released any music for some time (understandably so) the band played an amalgam of their three albums as well as remixing Jay Z and Beyoncé in a medley that oozed sass.
The band finished on the tune that started it all, Nakamarra, from their 2012 release Tawk Tomahawk—acclaimed by one of their most famous champions, Prince.
Despite delivering a flawless performance (by crowd standards) immersing fans in an abyss of grungy bass reverb and lullaby-like piano interludes, the band left the crowd without an encore as they had been enduring reverbing chaos—a deflating way to end their first show in a while.
To the fans’ credit no one heckled or projected disappointment, instead, empathy emanated from concertgoers in a display of solidarity for Hiatus’ dejection.