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15th November 2011

Live: The Cat Empire @ Academy 1

If you ever need someone to “break down a party landmine” for you, these are your guys.

The Cat Empire
Academy 1
19th October
5 stars

Ten years is a long time: tonight, though, The Cat Empire gave a performance proving that some things never change. The Australian outfit are celebrating the tenth anniversary of their first show together, and while their appearance might have altered, their capacity to throw a party certainly hasn’t.

The group opened with ‘Fishies’, setting the tone for an evening of astonishing musicianship, with Harry James Angus laying down the first of many exceptional trumpet solos. The following number ‘Days Like These’ almost brought the house down, as the crowd wildly skanked/salsa-ed with each other. In fact, the only scruple one might have had with the whole evening was that some audience members were getting a little too into it (I was accidentally struck in the face, twice), but perhaps I’m being a spoilsport.

While Harry might have stolen the show in terms of solos, each band member delivered separate outstanding ones of their own throughout the night – a personal favourite being the superb three-way brass jam between Harry (trumpet) and duo  The Empire Horns (trumpet and trombone).
Such is the nature of their Latin-heavy music that watching The Cat Empire is an exhausting experience; it’s very difficult not to dance, and as the evening wore on there seemed to be fewer and fewer who could resist the urge. The energy in Academy was matched only by the temperature, so that by 11pm it felt more like the Warehouse Project, although thankfully fewer people had their shirts off. The final song of their inevitable encore was ‘The Chariot’, which created a suitable state of euphoria (I was accidentally struck in the face again) – and it was a fitting end to an incredible evening which arguably cemented The Cat Empire’s place among the best live bands in the world. If you ever need someone to “break down a party landmine” for you, these are the guys.

Cat Empire – Fishies

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