LIVE MUSIC REVIEW: CAT EMPIRE AND XAVIER RUDD, GLENELG, 2017

Touring together for the first time, The Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd are a match made in musical heaven. Throw in an Australian summer on the beach, and give the two a picturesque festival setting with room to breathe, and you got perfect musical healing.

Settled with picnic blankets, cushions and sun hats, music fans of all ages gathered in the sand as Australian legends took the stage at Glenelg for a concert with the atmosphere of a Byron Bay-esque summer music festival.

Young indie-pop and roots rocker Sahara Beck kicked off the afternoon with a voice that travels a fine line between fresh innocence and smoky madness. Her remarkable talent driven by true heart and a tad of torture made it clear that the timidness of Beck’s youth has given way to a refined passion for music from country to rockabilly.

With a forgiving summer breeze, psychedelic reggae six-piece Ocean Alley’s one-drop reggae tunes of lax guitars and down-tempo rose to a crescendo of beats, drums and energy, mirroring the coarseness of the sea, before funky guitar-hero Harts took the stage and drove in the crowds with his up-beat tunes echoing the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and alike.

It’s no secret what we love Xavier Rudd for. Whether hypnotised by his percussive tones of bluesy melancholy, songs that speak of a better world or the effortless transition from his captivating voice to the sounds of a didgeridoo – all wrapped in a denim overall, the 38-year old knows which buttons to push. And the crowd love him.

Xavier’s dreamy vocals at sunset quickly gave way to the virtuous twilight bonanza that was the Cat Empire. Their distinctive tunes encompassing a frenzy of sound kept everyone on their toes as the sun went down and temperatures dropped. Rattling through ska, punk, reggae, rock, jazz tunes and latino virtuoso, the Melbourne six-piece really got a party going on the beach – so much so that it inspired some to take a late night plunge in the sea just to cool off from dancing.

Reviewed by Valentina Corona