The Cat Empire, Joe Neptune @ The Prince, Melbourne (10/09/09)

The Prince was a coming home of sorts for The Cat Empire. Seven years after first making the Prince their regular Melbourne hangout, they returned in all their well deserved glory. But before they could take to the stage, Joe Neptune stepped out to warm up the room.

Within moments the air was filled with slightly relaxed and folksy melodies courtesy of theside project of two Custom Kings members . Nick Vorrath and Jarrad Brown brought a hint of their other band to Joe Neptune and the Prince. The crowd gently swayed through some of the songs, but overall the aura remained rather relaxed. A perfect primer for what was about to come.

After an arduous wait, and a few false cheers for possibly surprised roadies, The Cat Empire took to the stage. Before the crowed died down, they launched into So Many Nights. The piano stabs caught the ears of everyone in the room and the chorus appeared along with the voices of the packed Prince.

Harry Angus busted out into a latin jazz sounding trumpet solo, which progressed into a full band instrumental. The quality and dynamic of The Cat Empire’s instrumentals and improvisations are something needs to be heard to be truly appreciated. The fun and moving instrumental made its way to Days Like These. Naturally the festive energy of the band commanded every mouth in the room joined in.

We were treated to a slower song, probably so we could catch our breaths. Harry’s trumpet moved everyones feet once again with Fishes. The full band of The Cat Empire brought an eclectic mashup of styles to Fishes, that was both unique and interesting. The jazzy overtones found a strange harmony with electronica beats. This continued into the second instrumental full of electronic meets jazz rhythms.

The Cat Empire’s style may be swaying slightly if the debut of Call Me Home, possibly from their next album, is anything to go by. The thinner, more lyrical and vocal driven ballad was quite the hit. They followed the success of their new song with The Crowd and a Paul Kelly cover.

Their usual drummer Will was not able to make it as his wife was having a baby. So guest drummer Dan brought his sticks to the gig with such intensity, joy and vigour Will may not be let back in. I’m kidding of course. The long drum instrumental, never really dropped to boring preferring a more suspenseful attitude.

As Felix announced Two Shoes was their last song for the night, we all knew they were coming back out. The energy in the room increased. Ollie returned to the stage lone with but his keys, on which he played an extended and rather suspenseful intro to The Wine Song.

After which the night of amazing singing, dancing and infectious trumpet melodies came to and end with The Chariot and a Thriller breakdown.