The sultry latin horns and contagious rhythms of the Cat Empire, permeated the Commodore Ballroom last night. Playing to a sold out crowd, the night was opened by local talent, Daniel Wesley. After igniting a floor wide sway, the main act took over and rocked the house with an energetic and beautiful set. With minimalist lighting and stage setup, it was a the perfect rawness to accompany the latin and reggae themed music. The lucky attendees were blessed with a terrific performance. This was the place to be last night.
With an eager spirit the mob filtered through the front doors and filed upstairs. Once in the venue it was clear to see the local openers had drawn a fan base of their own. The floor was heavy with activity right away. Something that was quite clear also was the lack of decent merchandise. The usual buzz around the consumerist hub was lacking significantly. What was being offered was cheaply made and really lacked any creativity. This meant that more people were at the bar buying drinks and getting the party started sooner.
The lights dipped down and Daniel Wesley came forth from the darkness. It would have been easy to mistake them as the main act; the crowd welcomed them with such vigor and appreciation. All smiles and humble words, they immediately dove into their usual good times set. The usual suspects were presented to the crowd, Pilgrimage, Ooo Ohh, and Drunk + Stoned. Each piece was received with enormous response. The floor was swaying like tall grass in the breeze. Hands raise in the air, bouncing to the speedier beats. They truly put on a great show and are capable of stirring up a little magic.
Once departed from the stage, Mr.Wesley found his way to the merch booth for a little meet and greet. Very few fans actually trekked over to shake his hand or ask for an autograph, it was a little embarrassing. The more eager portion of the audience took this interlude to refill their glass or visit the lavatory. The mood was set, and ready for the entrance of the main act to rock the house.
Again the lights were over taken by darkness. The various members of Cat Empire, filed on to the stage. After a warm reception they broke into the set. The playful trumpet and horns titillated the room, while the vocals washed through the room with energy and latin spice. Dancing spread through the entire venue and everyones faces lit up with excitement. The chairs were vacated as the entire room rushed to the floor to absorb and participate in the display.
The lighting for the stage was a wash of solid colors, coating the band in rich hues. As they delved into a bongo drum fronted piece, with french horn accompaniment, the red light swallowed the band members. While the saucy latin vibe flowed through the club, the accent of the visuals truly added that hot feel and added to the show.
The set list was well rounded and incorporated many older songs with stuff form their more recent album. It was obvious by the interaction with the mob before them that this band has the right sound and the right delivery. Everything they presented to the room last night was eaten up and left the crowd drooling for more. This band has an amazing sound and brings it to the show with energy and playful spirit. Although this band might never be selling out huge arenas they definitely have a niche market. As an outdoor festival summer band, they will top the must see list. During the colder months, they will rock 2 nights stints in every city. This group is amazingly talented and should be high on every list of must see. The Cat Empire is truly contagious.