First support act of the night was Animaux. The 7-piece ensemble performed a jazzy, poppy set including current single Alaska, a soothing pop release. During one track the bass was so heavy that the floor started shaking as if we were caught up in the middle of an earthquake! The septet were impressive enough to get me dancing along to the night’s warm-up.
Hiatus Kaiyote were originally billed to be the second supporting act, however had to pull out a few weeks prior to the Melbourne shows. Filling in their spot was Tinpan Orange. Singer, and wife of The Cat Empire’s Harry Angus, Emily Lubitz graced the stage kicking off the band’s set with a mesmerising rendition of the theme song for 80s/90s kids show, “Round The Twist.” The band, including Lubitz’s elder brother, Jesse, performed folky tunes with their set ending in a vocal duet between Angus and Mrs. Lubitz.
As the main act entered the stage, the six-piece plus the Empire Horns section were adorned by a stage-sized backdrop featuring a Graeme Base (author of Animalia) designed jungle themed print picture with the cat who graces their latest releases album cover. Inflatable cats sat on either side of the stage.
Kicking off their set was the clap inducing uptempo Steal The Light. Hearing this song live again brought back memories of watching The Cat Empire perform this track at 3am at White Night Melbourne earlier this year.
Although the set consisted of mainly their newer releases, a few oldies, such as Two Shoes, The Wine Song and The Chariot were thrown in.
As if the stage wasn’t already full enough, the band were joined on stage by Enigma Boogie and The Eli Dancers for the more Latin-infused tracks, including set closer the twanging, percussive, Brighter Than Gold. The Cat Empire and their guests never cease to amaze with so many talented individuals performing in a non-chaotic way on stage at the one time.
A short break and a short encore ensued concluding the night fittingly with Steal The Light album closer, All Night Loud, with its closing lyrics, “So thank you, my dear friends, and that’s good night.
The highlight of the night for me was when The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl (co-vocalist and percussionist) told the crowd to turn around facing the back of the venue to form a circle. It was an amazing experience moshing and singing along while enclosed by the people either side of me, as you felt an intimacy and passion for the music between the individual fans that you wouldn’t normally feel in a mosh pit.