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Live Review: The Cat Empire, Madre Monte, Tom Thum

22 October 2014 | 2:23 pm | Helen Lear

Another flawless performance that proves that these guys deserve the epic fan base that follows them wherever they go.

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One-man-beat-box and musical machine, Tom Thum, warmed up the all-ages crowd with some mind-blowing beats, scratches and musical instruments – all created solely by his vocal chords. There were a couple of numbers that received the help of external instruments, including a cover of Blackstreet’s No Diggity, with collaborator Jamie MacDowell, but what really stole the show was a musical sound journey around the world from the didgeridoo of Queensland to techno beats of Berlin and a sax solo from New York, all performed using only his voice. It’s a performance that needs to be seen to be believed!

Latin/reggae nine-piece, Madre Monte, bounced onto the stage next, their Afro-Colombian vibe really getting the growing crowd going, bouncing up and down to funky trumpets and bongos to tracks that included El Diablo and Subidero. A traditional Columbian music group from Sydney joined them on stage with their native flutes for a short piece before The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl appeared, drumming side by side for their latest track, Caiman En Fuga. 

A packed crowd, full of fans old and new, screamed and roared as lovable rogue Harry James Angus and the suave Felix took to the stage, flanked by the rest of The Cat Empire. Still Young opened the set and from that point on, the dancing didn’t stop. Prophets In The Sky gave Harry a chance to show off his breathtakingly soaring vocals that always appear somewhat at odds with his true blue Aussie bloke appearance. 

Ollie McGill got his chance to smash out the first epic keyboard solo of the night for Fishies before the Madre Monte singer joined them on stage for Like My Drum, which Felix admitted not fully understanding the translation for! A dancing duo, who popped in and out throughout the set, came on stage for How To Explain with some seriously impressive breakdancing moves that really added to the experience.

In My Pocket gave each band member a moment in the limelight, from Harry’s vocal free-styling to DJ Jamshid Khadiwhala’s scratching mega mix. Another classic, Two Shoes, went down a real treat before Tom Thum was welcomed back for some more vocal scratching and trumpeting to the hit, Hello. Lucky Sydney fan and competition winner, Camilla, was next to be welcomed up to accompany the band with her clarinet for The Wine Song, an experience that no doubt will stay with her for life.

After humbly thanking the fans for their undying support over the years, clearly evident by the large number of older crowd members, All Night Loud finished the set before an encore of Sly and big hitter, The Chariot, that ensured there wasn’t a steady foot or frown in the entire house. Another flawless performance that proves that these guys deserve the epic fan base that follows them wherever they go.