The Cat Empire

O2 Academy, Bristol on Thu 21st Oct 2010

When the The Cat Empire visit your city be quick to buy your ticket as they always seem to sell out quickly, which is not bad considering you wont hear them on the radio. They hold a base of devoted fans that snap up available tickets at a moments notice and for good reason, this is a band that can fuse genres such as; funk, latin, jazz, hip hop, reggae to name a few and make it their own and making it listen-able.

Its hard find something disappointing about such a band as playing live these veterans give the crowd everything in their musical abilities that they have without so much as one bum note throughout the evening. Their skills are a musical education for everyone who has ever learnt an instrument, each member masterfully and almost effortlessly blending together their sounds to create magical energy that the can jubilant fans can admire or bounce and sing along with.

Opening with a a new song ('Falling') from the 'Cinema' album the boys are evidently keen to showcase new material and whilst the song is a good song it isn't comparable to their past glories which we expectantly wait for. Not a problem, the band launch into 'Sly' with it powerful beating energy lifting every foot inside the building.

An early special moment was Hello a song that the band dig out from their archives less frequently these days but sounding fresh to the loyal and appreciative fans as it included a tremendous scratching solo by decks wizard DJ Jumps. Then, as is the case at most Cat Empire gigs, trumpet player Harry Angus seems to steal the show, not just with his blissful bursts of trumpet playing or singing, but with is staccato scatting on tracks such as 'The Darkness', a truly intense masterpiece. The other musicians compliment his insane freestyle bursts of scat as Angus experiments with his voice in ways that few singers dare. The vocal delay makes his voice strange, hypnotically rhythmical and sometimes amusing as it sounds at one point like he repeats the words "chicken today" for almost a minute, perhaps some unusual dinner time mantra before the song rises in energy and rhythm as if some ancient gypsy celebration is under way.

The Cat Empire continue to mix the old with the new bringing into play 'In My Pocket', 'Two Shoes', 'Fishes', and 'Call Me Home', which is perhaps the most anthemic of new material before exiting the stage for what seemed like an eternity to those expecting an encore. The wooden floors were pounded by peoples feet as the crowd correctly decided that stamping would would be the most effective way to make a lot of noise and of course they did, eventually, return to the stage. It was always going to happen and they were always going to play 'The Wine Song' and 'The Chariot' but as usual they had a little surprise in store. This time during the 'Wine Song' the musicians stopped dramatically and the trombone player teased the audience with a few choice notes before they charged into a version of 'Miserlou' by Dick Dale and his Del Tones which was made famous by Pulp Fiction. It takes audacious confidence to attempt such a stylish number and if it hadn't been perfect it would have been a failure but it failure it was not. The triumphantly carried the song as if it was a creation of their own.

It is evident that things have changed over the years – Felix Reibl seems to look more like a heartthrob each time they tour, Angus's beard bigger and more dishevelled, the solos longer and slightly longer but they seem to know intuitively when to return to the body of the song before it becomes indulgent but the sentiments remain the same - positive lyrics, kind and happy about life, love and the planet without sounding like hippies. The pretence that lesser musicians suffer from is absent within the Cat Empire and maybe this is why the crowd have continued to love them and probably will for a long time.

It's a long way from Australia but come visit us again soon if you can boys. Thanks.

article by: Richard Potter

published: 24/10/2010 15:10


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.