Monday 7 April 2014

Swingin' smooth sounds of The Cat Empire @ Tanks 5/10/13


What a night was ahead.... as we drove the 15 minute trip to one of the most intimate, artsy and popular venues in Cairns; The Tanks Art Centre, the excitement was certainly building for me but have to say, not so much Subasstune. Perhaps he was just hungry, boys....they can get a bit cranky if running on empty. Nothing the bratwurst with toppings didn't fix though! Scanning the crowd, I reflected on a thought that stirred warm and fuzzy feelings: you just have to love the creation of music, to bring together such a vast and diverse variety of people all here to share the love of great music and to get their groove on! 

We pulled up a couple of chairs at a table with an older couple and shared a bit of banter while finishing off the energy boost that is food. 

Sweet tunes were dancing along the paths to our ears, up the fig trees and vines and through the air to anyone still outside the gates beckoning us all into the abyss of Tank #5...it was..... The Good Oak cranking out their purely organic twangs and smooth harmonies, commanding foot stompin' and head boppin' moves as soon as we entered. These Brissy folky fellas were having an absolute ball jamming up there together, creating just as much fun for their audience, involving them at every opportunity, what a true live performance should be! 
These boys have incredibly unique voices separately that become engagingly powerful together, The Good Oak are an absolute MUST to check out.
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Now, for anyone who is perhaps a not a solid Cat Empire fan, I implore you to see them live!! You will be converted! Subasstune was impressed and inspired, he has found a new respect and love for these swingin' cats from Melbourne. Their energy and enthusiasm is contagious! It's no wonder all 3 shows here were sold out months ago.

Squashed up against the barrier in the front row, like a huge groupie, the anticipation was killing me! They all casually wondered out with Cheshire cat grins taking their positions, the 8 piece outfit looked just as excited as us. It is such an exciting thing to see from the audience, just from this, you can tell its going to be great gig. Opening with the beautifully caressing vocals and gentle introduction building to a beat that just makes you want to dance, title track from their most recent album, Steal the Light. 
The audience lapped up the constant attention from the group who's tracks just got better and better, the eclectic fusion of genres laced through their music coursed completely through my veins, and infused the whole of the venue in "a spontaneous explosion of melody and rhythm that contains many flavours."* They continued to deliver exceptional tunes with their renowned improv solos from pretty much EVERY member - brilliant! Drummer - Will - Intense!! With little egg on's from Jumps on the decks for "Just one more round man, come on!"


To try to mention the stand out tracks is next to impossible as every song had the same intense vibrancy. For the life of me I can not remember which song it was but Harry got the crowd sharing the love when we made small groups with our neighbours with arms around shoulders doing a bit of a Zorba style dance. I loved Prophets (Subasstune's fav), Fishies and wow, Darkness.... I love this song on its own, the Turkish/ Arabic beats and rhythms, and hauntingly nearly religious tones from Harry's vocals, but live... was taken to a new level. Two Shoes, Like a Drum (with a bit of African influence I thought) and Wine Song made everyone think they were amazing singers! I was constantly star struck by the amazing energy omitting from that stage. Closing with Brighter Than Gold, being a little bit of an amp up tune, we knew an encore was coming.... 


They re-hit the stage with a phenomenal mash of Wild Animals/ Hello/ Wandering, followed by Chariot: lyrically Chariot is ethically creative, carrying a theme that resonates not only with the core values of Travel Beats, but also the hearts of fans and an ever increasing number of people who care enough about the world to start taking action for the better of it. The final track on Steal The Light, All Night Loud, officially closed the set, the same way they came in....with Felix's simply beautiful caressing lyrics and voice and their acclaimed ability of world rhythm alchemy, it left us on such an indescribable high.
The Cat Empire will continue to lure more fans, they are at such an ease with each other on stage, seem genuinely natural, it is like not only watching magic but feeling it.