From the 18 year old square to the 60 year old hippie, all were there to have a good time. The atmosphere for the ska/jazz band was electric, proving my long standing point of having gigs closer to the weekends – everyone is that little looser.
The Metro is renowned for its great sound, but to have a six piece band with the help of The Empire Horns brass contingent, you know the sound will be epic – and indeed it was. With the likes of familiar songs such as How to Explain very early on, we were invited to dance from the word go.
The Cat Empire are a perfect live festival band; their albums do not do them justice, their instrumentals throughout their set excite even the squarest of teenagers. They have enough lalalalala’s and nananana’s to make Paul McCartney a satisfied pensioner.
These stints summoned the whole crowd to sway like they were in Germany, drinking out of steins and dressed as muppets whilst celebrating Oktoberfest.
Harry James Angus and Felix Riebl are both fantastic front man. Angus reminded me of James Brown by the way he floated around the stage almost commanding every note each musician played. However, he did it in a more conservative way than Mr Brown ever did. And his voice? Outstanding! It was almost tribal at times; with their newest song Wild Animals, bellowed out around the Metro.
The Cat Empire are an extremely tight band (which you have to be when playing the genre they currently sit in), but what got me was how “into” the music they were. Like any band – they have probably heard their songs hundreds if not thousands of times – and to see the likes of Angus and Riebl during an instrumental, take a step back from the band, close their eyes and become fully absorbed in their mates’ brilliance, just emphasizes how much music means to them.
A perfect example would be when Ollie McGill went into a “classical” jam with their double bassist Ryan Monro. The double bass is one of my favorite instruments and it very simply renders the sound The Cat Empire create; they have so much fun on stage and they really can groove. Watching Jamshid Khadiwhala (the DJ) scratch for five minutes, sweating so profusely that he was dripping all over his decks – I was waiting for an electric shock.
New songs were played for the popping crowd like Oh Maria and Still Young but obviously we were spoilt with the classics such as Days like These and Hello Hello, with them finishing with the infamous Two Shoes. The Cat Empire were on at The Metro for three nights in a row, and they rocked each like it was their last show ever.
With Riebl’s constant welcoming smile and Angus’s complete engrossment in their music – I can guarantee that music is most definitely in their soul.