The Cat Empire @ The Tivoli, 10th October

I scoff down a freshly-baked pizza from Alfredo’s, finish off a schooner of dark ale and race down to join the eager Cat Empire fans at The Tivoli.  Coming into the early minutes of opener Tom Thum, the local beatboxer has already captivated the room. Surprisingly, The Tivoli is already full of people, settling in with ciders and pale ales. Tom’s beatboxing excites the crowd with his quick wit and cheeky banter thrown in between songs.  Thum isn’t just your average street beatboxer; he has perfected the art, treating the crowd to numerous sounds that wow and amaze everyone.  His jazz band act is both hilarious and fascinating as he loops various jazz instruments that work together to produce a cohesive song. His trumpeting could compete with some of the most seasoned musicians – an impressive act, all in all.

Cuban reggae band, Madre Monte, walk on stage and ask for the crowd to bounce up and down with them, the music hasn’t even started yet and already the band has the crowd enticed.  We obey and shortly after we are all dancing to their Cuban grooves.  The crowd sway back and forth, twisting to every bang of the tom toms and blow of the horns.  I’ve already broken a sweat and it’s still early in the night.  Madre Monte have definitely loosened the crowd up and provided some great vibes to lead us to the main act.

As The Cat Empire fills the stage the crowd explodes with applause. Without any hesitation the band begin with a thunderous blow of their horns and keys, we realise it’s Still Young and another round of applause erupts. Then the dancing begins. As frontman Felix begins to sing, Harry blasts his trumpet into the mic with ferocious power and the energy in the room lifts to a new level.

The Cat Empire play through many old songs, pleasing the enthusiastic crowd.  I’ve never seen a band that is so energetic, as Felix runs between his tom toms to his mic constantly.  Every now and then two dancers make their way to the stage, flipping and breakdancing with ease. It’s then I realise that I’m not in a gig anymore – this is an event; an almost fully choreographed spectacle.

When the band break out into Hello, they ask for Tom Thum to come back to the stage and help out with his myriad talents.  What is originally a 3 minute song has turned into a 10 minute exhibition of every band member battling against Thum with their respective instruments.  Meanwhile, the crowd continue to dance and sweat, and dance and sweat.

Ending on my personal favourite, The Chariot, the crowd scream the ending chorus, as Felix holds the microphone to the passionate fans.  Walking out, my vocal chords are wrecked, my legs ache and I’m sweaty as hell but it’s all worth it knowing I was just active in one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

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