The Cat Empire at The Roundhouse, London
As one of the world’s leading ska groups, The Cat Empire, although non-mainstream, have been consistently sold out venues across the globe especially in Australasia and Europe. The six-piece band are incredibly talented and certainly know how to get the party started, citing influences from indie, funk, ska and rock as well as samba and Latin music. The Cat Empire’s self-titled 2003 debut record became critically acclaimed with the lead single ‘Hello’ gaining extensive BBC Radio 1 play in the UK. The band has grown their reputation for incredibly energetic live performances as well as impressive instrumentals with each member of the band having their own solo during shows. And, this isn’t just your run of the mill band, there’s horns, bass, keyboard and even DJ decks. The group have even headlined two UK festivals in the past; Boomtown and Secret Garden Party. Seven albums down and The Cat Empire are still going strong, never selling out on their unique genre-bending style and superb live capacity. The group have just announced their eighth studio album ‘Studio Diamonds’ and with it another trip to the UK.
Another excellent band to make an appearance at the Roundhouse in Camden this year, the Australian group not only showed off some of their classic tracks but also a chunky taster of what is to come in 2019. The Cat Empire boasted their new single, ‘Oscar Wilde’, which was chosen as our ‘Needed’ track of the week back in October. The nineteen track setlist was finished off with a three-song encore, topped with ‘The Chariot’, one of the group’s most diverse and lyrically deep tracks. In true Cat Empire fashion, the set was full to the brim with solos from the horn section, as well as the drummer and keyboardist. These changes to the band’s compositions and arrangements with live instrumentals filtered between tracks keeps them fresh and exciting. There is always something new for the listeners’ ears.
You can never get bored of seeing this band. So many groups just come out and play songs but The Cat Empire really put on a show. And, it is this that has kept them on top of their game for well over a decade. Make sure you’re at a performance next time they’re in the UK. Here’s to many more years.