This article is from 2006.
Purveyors of an inimitable, vaudevillian Latino-ska-funk hoedown, The Cat Empire, like many an Antipodean outfit, are well versed in turning a party out. The charismatic Melbourne outfit originally set out as a trio but are now an empire indeed, their touring company stretching beyond a sextet of core musicians to an accompanying brass section, dubbed The Empire Hornbags, and a trio of dancers. Promoting their latest album, the Havana recorded Two Shoes, the Cats touch down in Edinburgh in the midst of a seemingly endless, high-impact, globetrotting tour schedule that has already taken in Singapore, the US, Canada and Northern Europe, with Japan following the UK leg.
Their improvisational, wholly chaotic and fun loving shows espouse a positive message filtered through their own brand of happy-hippy hip hop, gypsy jazz, Latino reggae and funk rock, a recipe that garners a similarly enthusiastic response, not least at their formative 16 night-run at the Festival in 2002. This year The Empire will be striking back with only two fun-filled gigs, ably aided and abetted by fellow Aussie funksters, the 60s and 70s vintage inspired Ross Irwin Soul Special. So if their tour dates are testament to musicianship and shear tenacious energy, do fun and frolics come guaranteed? Well, any band that boasts not only the statutory T-shirts and hoodies in their merchandise but a Frisbee, basketball, playing cards and cute ladies undies can surely be considered a safe bet.
George Theatre, 662 8740, 6-7 Aug, 11pm, £16.