ANYBODY UP FOR SOMETHING TROPICAL?

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Hello ladies and gentlemen, and welcome aboard The Chariot for The Cat Empire tropical island cruise featuring your host Oscar Wilde! Anybody not ready now better hold on tight, ‘cause the rhythm of this voyage is expected to be well, moving, to say the least! Onboard with us tonight, we have ‘Stolen Diamonds’ the latest gem from Melbourne’s favourite jazz kitties The Cat Empire, an album brighter than gold!


Ladies and gentlemen, wolves, fishies, bulls and everyone/thing else, please grab a cocktail and have your boarding pass ready, it’s time to party!…


As we stand at the precipice of the performance, the band walking out onto the stage and taking to the helm that are their respective instruments, the already densely packed theatre is filled with a wave of static excitement!


The first stop on this tropical venture, we’re met with a delectable serving of tropical jazz, fun and rasta in ‘Anybody’, featured on the band’s latest album, followed by the fruity cocktail of ‘Sleep Won’t Sleep’, I swear I can almost see the palm trees, coconuts and hammocks on the beach!


‘Anybody’ is like the “complementary” cocktail upon entry (that is included in the entry fee), that offers something new and different to the cocktails we all are used to and have enjoyed, in moderation of course… *cough-cough*. Whereas,  ‘Sleep Won’t Sleep’ is that passionfruit/white-chocolate Martini you know and love! Like a well-blended cocktail, the sound tonight is mixed to perfection! I can hear all sounds sitting comfortably among one another, whilst not overpowering Felix’s vocals at the forefront, and there’s a lot of layers to account for too! (vocals, guitar, bass, keys, drums, DJ/decks, horns and percussion). 


As I find myself becoming pleasantly intoxicated by the tasty mix of sound, the addition of Felix on the bongo’s tapping away swiftly in a “call and response” jam-off with the DJ in the bridge section of ‘Wolves’, and the all-out jam between all band members in the bridge section of ‘Sleep Won’t Sleep’ is nothing short of mesmerizing. That, plus the smooth horns (I honestly have no idea if it’s in-fact trombone, saxophone, trumpet or what?) and the chorus of voices singing the hook lyrics “all night long” in the chorus is rather potent!


Thus far, Felix has been like an entertaining host on an island tour “on the left we have Felix holding the microphone out to the crowd, to sing the hook melody in the bridge section of ‘Call Me Home’. On the right we have the highly fun jazz improv jamming featuring the admittedly sexiest piano solo in the bridge section ‘Fishies’, followed by some incredible high notes ( which shouldn’t be possible for a male over the age of twelve) performed in perfect clarity by Felix in ‘Darkness’, with it’s deeper feeling portraying the mixed feeling of awe, captivation and excitement as one witnesses the historic events of Pompei” This is all while Felix races around the stage, dancing and waving to the crowd when possible like a tour guide who’s way too jolly for the suspiciously sudden vacancy of alcohol onboard the ship… hmmm. Still, Felix’s energy and the way he coordinates his actions with his musical performance is far too well executed for someone intoxicated to pull off… well, smoothly at least!


Despite the fun, tropical fiesta that is this show, the crowd are rather calm? It’s not until Felix revs us up with a clap-along to the building-up beats in the bridge section of ‘Two Shoes’ that people actually dance and jump in the sequential chorus after the build-up! Me on the other hand, I’ve been shamelessly grooving the entire time… ok, maybe slightly shameful. The insane drum solo in the bridge section of ‘Darkness’ probably helped energize the crowd!


We all have a favourite destination on these kinds of tours, and mine is definitely ‘The Chariot’ with it’s rasta grooves in the verses with Felix’s quick rolling vocals that build up to the insanely infectious, lively jazz salsa dance of a chorus! I was already musically quite intoxicated by these tropical fuels, but now? The horn melodies in the chorus with keyboard rhythms bouncing around them and driving beat elevates my slightly shameful dance moves to straight out shameful, no slightness about it. Still, I’m not the only one, and seeing as I can’t see people looking at me, eh!


No but seriously, as Felix told me in our interview before the show, (watch here) music brings us together which I couldn’t agree more! Tonight is a prime example, we’re all here regardless of any language barriers, differences in culture, beliefs or status, all brought together by a mutual love! And when it’s a show like this filled with passion, energy, improvisations, crowd interaction and tantalising tropical aural flavours, you can’t help but let your hair down, forget the stress of normal everyday life and dance without a shred of remorse, ‘cause we’re all doing the same, so it’d be a real shame not to!


I could go on and on, taking you through every single song on this journey, but really, after nineteen songs (sixteen plus a three song encore) I think everyone would agree that like a truly euphoric and memorable holiday, I don’t want it to end and wish it could continue! And even with the absence of the band’s greatest hit ‘Hello’ and the anthemic and kind of sexy swagger of ‘Prophets In The Sky’ which I was hoping to be played, I am far from disappointed! In summary, this is one of the most fun “let your hair down” concerts you could attend whether you’re a jazz fan typically or not!


Thank you for choosing to travel with Keen Eye 4 Concerts, I hope you’ve enjoyed your trip as much as I have and I hope to have you aboard again soon!