ROCK N’ ROOTS WEEKEND – THE CAT EMPIRE
KINGS PARK & BOTANIC GARDEN
Photos by Julian Neil
Barbé took grace to the stage when she opened up the afternoon for The Cat Empire on Saturday the 30th, showing the people of Perth just why she cleaned up at the WAM Awards just last month with Best World Act & Best Vocalist Awards for 2019 and 7 overall awards for World Music so far in her career.
Perth raised Barbé brings the Seychelles and all it’s tropical flavors and style to Kings Park on the last leg of her Australian tour supporting The Cat Empire with all her latest work off her FANM Woman album. With Hardy Perrine on Drums and guitarist Jamie Searle they were the perfect trio taking me to the islands whilst sipping on my lime and soda whilst dreaming about it being a Pina Colada in hand.. They did a great rendition of ‘All Night Long’ by Lionel Ritchie in Creole too which was a beautiful treat and that wasn’t the last we would see of them for the night after ending their set on a high.
Caravãna Sun were next and set the crowd on fire, including myself from the get go! This four piece Surf Rockers hailing from Sydney were a delight to watch and they didn’t disappoint taking me on a journey from hits such as ‘Come Back’ which was written about a good friend of the band who had passed away recently and brought back to life in song, in the most beautiful tribute.
Gaia and Whale hooked me in while the emotional and powerful song ‘Legend’ literally stole my heart away. Written about Luke’s Maltese roots and a legacy to his Nono who came over from Malta for a new life in Australia in 1934 who in later life suffered dementia struck me hard as my own Nono (Grandfather ) also came out from the shores of Valetta in Malta in 1949 to start a fresh life his own.
These guys were so talented and fun to watch. Ant Beard was jumping around on stage with so much excitement that couldn’t bring anything but a huge smile to mine and my 12 year old’s face. They are having the time of their lives and I can’t wait to see what’s next for these guys. They have an immense amount of stage energy, and they were most humble and the sweetest guys to talk to after their set. I’m definitely a fan as they left quite the impression on me on and off the stage.
This was the first time i’d seen Dan (Crazy i know….)
He came out to face the audience as one, Just Dan and his guitar opening up with that sultry powerhouse vocalist he is while commanding the audiences attention with Dirty ground. His storytelling songwriting is raw and honest and holds no barres to the struggles he has recently overcome.
His amazing new band take stage to back their Aria award winning frontman with hits like Loving’s just for fools, Kingdom and so many more that had the crowd up and dancing front and side of stage. I feel his music is so much more powerful to me when it’s just him up there with his guitar as a solo act but his band are huge, the backing vocalists, the drums, the keys. Dan Sultan and his band have a lot to say and you can’t help but stand up and listen.
The Cat Empire were up next, and the smooth alluring voices of Felix Reibl and Harry James Angus backed by their incredible band had the crowd all loved up from the first song me included. They played all the crowd pleasers and didn’t disappoint. Still young, Brighter than Gold had the crowd going nuts, How to explain, no longer there and some gems from their latest release of Stolen Diamonds including Kila which is a personal favorite of mine.
These guys are world class, you just can’t help but admire their musicianship and they just have this infectious charisma on stage. They are one of the most fun bands i’ve had the pleasure of seeing live! Felix and Harry were owning the stage and harry at one stage doing shuttle runs of the front of the stage following that up with, “i need to do more yoga”
Did i mention earlier that we wouldn’t be seeing the last of Grace Barbé after her set? Well Grace and her band jumped up with The Cat Empire and performed a beautiful version of Oscar Wilde.
All in all a perfect evening of incredible acts!