REVIEW: The Cat Empire

The Cat Empire at The Pyramids, Southsea. Picture by James Pardon
The Cat Empire at The Pyramids, Southsea. Picture by James Pardon
Gerry Cunningham and Rachel Kane at the 2017 Isle of Wight Festival

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Their weapons were their instruments, and with their loud brass section, they brought a little slice of Latin America to Portsmouth.

Promoting their sixth (yes really, I can’t believe it either) album, The Cat Empire’s blend of ska/salsa/jazz was warmly welcomed by the expectant crowd at the Pyramids.

It’s not often you get to go to a gig where dancing is the norm. And The Cat Empire’s infectious sound sent a ripple of rhythm across the crowd within the first two songs.

By the time they played well-known hits such as Two Shoes and Still Young, the whole crowd was moving. Their infectious party sound had worked its usual magic.

By the time they played The Chariot, the place was jumping.

The set was mixed with a few slower ballad-type numbers, and each musician on stage got a chance to shine with solo sections.

If anything, the older songs, where there was more ska than salsa, went down better. But they’re tight, they can work a crowd, and they are the perfect band for April - heralding spring, optimism, warm weather and a beer in the sun. There may not be any cats, but they deserve their own little empire.