Hiatus Kaiyote | Skirball Cultural Center | October 30, 2013

Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote
Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote is one of two bands who I’ve seen perform live 3 times this year. Clearly, I’m a big fan of their music. They blew my mind at the Del Monte Speakeasy in March, and amazed me at the Bootleg Theater in July. Performing for the last time in Los Angeles in 2013, I jumped at the chance to buy tickets to their show at the Skirball.

Once again, they delivered beyond my expectations.  Like their show at the Bootleg Theater, their musicality was on full display. Though I knew all of their music, what I heard that evening was beyond unreal. They took the musical themes of almost every song, and improvised and jammed new life into them. It was as if the audience was being treated to master-class remixes of the original recordings. It was wonderfully brilliant. If you are already familiar with their music, you should check out the video snippets from the show below. I think you’ll catch my drift.

IMG_3106They played a couple new songs that they were working on for their next album (“Breathing Under Water” (titled “Breathing” on the setlist) and “Don’t Mind With My Atoms” (titled, I think, “Bordershiine” on the setlist). After their gig, I caught up with some of the band members who told me they were going to head back home to write and record their next album. That being said, I realized that their next trek through Los Angeles wouldn’t probably be until they support their next album. Their performance at the Skirball will hold me over for a spell, but I have a feeling that I’ll be jonesing to see them live by Spring of 2014.

Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not currently available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos.

Add Hiatus Kaiyote on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram and Twitter using the handle @HiatusKaoiyote. You should follow them. You need to see them perform live. Do it.

Moses Sumney | Skirball Center | 11/30/13

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On July 31, 2013, I went to go see Hiatus Kaiyote at the Bootleg Theater. Following the gig, and due to a year long set of fate-induced circumstances, I was lucky enough to hang out with the band for a bit before they had to run to the airport for travel. The lead singer, Nai Palm, was hanging outside with KCRW DJ, Jeremy Sole, and another singer, doing some freestyle, vocal jamming.  Afterwards, Nai introduced me to the gentleman with, “This Moses. He’s amazing. You NEED to check his stuff out.”

I did, and I was immediately hooked. It was a distinctive vocal style which blends equal parts jazz and soul. The recordings makes adept use of loopers, creating a sound that led me to tell him, when I saw him afterwards at Laura Mvula’s show at the El Rey Theatre on 9/17/13 that he sounded like a modern day Bobby McFerrin. I don’t dole out high praise like that often, but I thought it was deserved. How pleased was I when I heard that he would be one of the opening act for Hiatus Kaiyote’s gig at the Skirball?

Armed with just a couple microphones, a looper and a guitar, he performed a remarkable set. His vocal arrangements were simple but lush. His melodies were smooth but firm. What I enjoyed most about his live performance was watching him use his looper to create the music right before us. Having sung in vocal groups in high school and college, I’ll have to admit … I was totally geeking out.

I follow his fan page on Facebook to keep track of when his next performances are (and you should too to find links of some high quality videos and recordings of his current work)  as his live act is definitely something that I would pay to see again. In fact, as fate would have it, I’ve recently learned that he will opening for one of  my last concerts of the year: Thundercat at the Echo on December 5th, 2013.  I suppose, it was just meant to be.

Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not currently available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos.

Allen Stone | The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue | September 21, 2013

Click here to check out the blog entries of the other acts I was able to catch (Myron & E, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Maceo Parker and Aloe Blacc) at The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue.

Allen Stone at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]

About a year ago, while searching the web for new music, I came across a youtube video of a white soul singer from Seattle, Washington singing a soulful, acoustic version of one of his own compositions.  The chorus of the song, and the voice the singer, hooked me instantly.  The songs was called “Another Break Up Song” and the singer’s name was  Allen Stone.

On October 19, 2012, I was able to see him perform at The Fonda Theatre. His performance that evening was so good that it made it into the top 10 of the concert events I went to in 2012. Since I missed his early afternoon set at Coachella this year, I was ecstatic to hear that he would be performing at the Beach Ball Soul Revue.

If you are unfamiliar with Allen Stone, I would describe this self-professed “hippie with soul” as a throwback to those soul legends who sang lyrics embedded with social commentary. Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway … I’m talking the heavy hitters. Lofty comparisons for a relative newbie in the music industry, but with a tenor voice as soulful as his, and poingnant songwriting ability, it’s hard for me not to make them.  Back in October 2012, I professed on my Facebook page that Allen Stone could be an artist that we’d see performing at the Hollywood Bowl or Greek Theatre sooner rather than later. I’m going to stick to my guns.

His performance at the Beach Ball was as good as I remembered him at the Fonda, if not more energetic. He fed off the energy from the crowd, who sang along to Allen’s more well known songs. The crowd loved his performance, and clearly loved the messages of love and togetherness Allen professed throughout his set.

After all of the concert festivities for the evening had concluded, I meandered to my “Cheers” (Ye Old Kings Head in Santa Monica) for a few drinks with friends. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Allen and his crew were tucked away in a corner of the bar. Being the gregarious person I am … though, I’m sure the double Dewars I had just consumed also helped … I walked over to Allen’s table and introduced myself. I recall telling him that I was at his show at the Fonda, that I enjoyed his set on the pier, and how I’m always hoping that I’d get to hear him perform “Another Break Up Song”.

Me and Allen Stone at the Kings Head after the Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Me and Allen Stone at the Kings Head after the Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]

I offered to buy him a drink, but he told me that it was his turn to be the designated driver. I think I may have bought his manager a drink though. Not wanting to be a leech, I told Allen that I was really looking forward to hear his next album, and snapped a quick pic before minding my own. A friend of mine who manages the Kings Head has offered to hang a picture of me and Snoop on the celebrity wall of the Kings Head, but I’ve always refused because Snoop’s never been to the Kings Head.  I just may have to give him my picture with Allen.

Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
Allen Stone performing at The Beach Ball Festival 9/21/13 [ig: @methodman13]
 

Click here to check out the blog entries of the other acts I was able to catch (Myron & E, Lee Fields and the Expressions, Maceo Parker and Aloe Blacc) at The Beach Ball Festival: Soul Revue.