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Live Review: The Cat Empire w/ The Pierce Brothers @ Enmore Theatre

The Cat Empire Feature Image

Melbourne 8-piece The Cat Empire proved to Sydney on Friday night that they alone will be responsible for the resurgence of Latin Jazz music in Australia. It was a night of high-octane dancing for the audience at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre which was kick-started by twin duo The Pierce Brothers.

Jack and Pat Pierce showcased an energy and talent that is rare amongst warm-up acts. It was obvious the brothers were enjoying their time on the stage and they were sure not to waste the opportunity. Jack as the percussionist was not restricted to a drum kit and covered every inch of the stage, hitting everything as he went. No item on stage was safe from the drumsticks, most particularly Pat’s acoustic guitar which bore the evidence of Jack’s antics. Their contagious enthusiasm had the audience up on their feet and ready for the main act.

The Cat Empire burst onto the stage and wasted no time getting into Wolves. Their unique blend of jazz and funk allowed the all-ages audience to not only enjoy the music but to show their appreciation in movement. Even the passive fans that really only know their breakout song Hello were able to enjoy the music and join in with the more devoted fans.

“All the solos, including DJ Jamshid ‘Jumps’ Khadiwala scratching showcase, felt like an exclusive pass into the band’s jamming sessions.”

What’s a good show though without something going wrong? Vocalist and trumpeter Harry Angus announced that his trumpet was broken just before Prophet in the Sky. The skill of the band meant that not even the harshest of critics would have been able to single out the difference one less trumpet made. A replacement trumpet was presented to Harry by the hero of the night ‘Brooke’. Lead vocalist Felix Reibel led the audience in a celebratory chant to thank her before launching into Two Shoes.

The thing that has always set The Cat Empire apart is the long instrumental breaks in their songs, and this show did not disappoint. Every member of the band was given their chance to shine and unlike many instrumentals they rarely lost the audience attention. Perhaps the most impressive were the three brass players, Harry, Ross Irwin and Kieran Conrau who had a brass ‘riff-off’. All the solos, including DJ Jamshid ‘Jumps’ Khadiwala scratching showcase, felt like an exclusive pass into the band’s jamming sessions.

The energy on the stage was contagious and there was rarely a moment that the audience was still. Reibel himself said, “You give me a lot of life and I really appreciate that…it helps a lot having you around. This is for you”. This was shortly before launching into a three song encore which included the much beloved Wine Song. Encores are now an expected and fundamental part of any performance. But by playing three songs, compared to the usual two, the band thanked the audience for their participation the only way they knew how.

It was a solid two-hour performance which finished the way it started, with everyone jumping up and down. The band paid tribute to their roots, finishing on the ever popular Chariot. But this was a show to launch their new album, and what a launch it was! It would not have been possible to walk away from that performance without a new favourite song from ‘Rising With The Sun’.

Read our review of The Cat Empire’s latest album ‘Rising With The Sun’ HERE