LIVE REVIEW: The Cat Empire – May 4th, Bennett’s Lane
For the first of their series of ten year anniversary shows, The Cat Empire decided to go back to where it all began: jazz club Bennett’s Lane, where the stage was so tiny that the horn section had to sit in the audience! The Empire’s music has strayed from their jazz roots over the past decade, but their show last night didn’t focus on their hits. The set consisted of many non-album tracks, with largely improvised sections showcasing the musical brilliance of every single band member. Harry Angus took the role of conductor, subtly guiding his bandmates through each piece.
The last time I saw The Cat Empire was at an all-ages gig at the Prince of Wales in 2005, and the crowd was absolutely mental [particularly considering the percentage of underage people present]; people were screaming, and dancing, and declaring that they wanted Ollie’s children. The atmosphere at Bennett’s was far more subdued. The club is tiny, and we were all sat at little tables. There was no crowd surfing, just a lot of polite clapping and a few quiet cheers. After almost two hours of jazzy goodness, the audience were treated to a brief encore, before being ushered out to make way for the second show of the night. If I hadn’t been relying on public transport to get home, I would certainly have stuck around to do it all again.