Once in a while you aren’t prepared for what you’re about to witness, that’s what happened this past weekend at Webster Hall in the form of The Cat Empire. I was told that their live show was “not to be missed” by their public relations firm, something I see (as the editor here) multiple times a day, when getting pitched shows for us to cover. This was one of those rare times when the much hyped show, not only met expectations, but blew them away.
Starting off the night was the Canadian Indie-rock band, Current Swell – who ripped through their infectious set of up-tempo tunes and had the crowd eating out of their hands. You couldn’t tell that they were the openers however, as they had the crowd clapping along a few times and successfully warmed up the nearly full room.
Once the members of The Cat Empire sauntered on stage, the crowd erupted into a frenzy of noise and hands raised towards the sky. The band countered with their own sound, one that would bounce off the walls for the next hour in such a large way that some of the beats are still echoing in my head. The band is hard to describe really, like I mentioned, their sound is huge – one that has influences rooted deep in Latin-Jazz but isn’t handcuffed into that one genre. The constants in most of their songs are; driving percussion and incredible vocals highlighted by a smoking horn section which in turn makes you dance, there is no choice – even I was dancing (badly).
After trying to take shots on the heaving floor, I decided it best that I retreated to the more still VIP section of the balcony, but there was no refuge on this night, Webster Hall was shaking. A handful of songs in is when the real fun started with an amazing horn section display of teamwork and improvisation. The rest of the night was a blur of movement and that monstrous Latin sound. If you feel like dancing, this band may just be your best bet to get that raw energy out of you without hitting the club and hearing the same crap every weekend.
Article by: Shayne Hanley