Uni Life

The (Cat) Empire Strikes Back at Bar on the Hill

Chris Daniel reviews The Cat Empire‘s miraculous return to Bar on the Hill with their ‘Rising With The Sun’ tour.

Bar on the Hill has hosted the finest Melbourne talent in the past six months, including Allday, Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher and now The Cat Empire. With their first studio album since ‘Steal The Light’ in 2013, The Cat Empire have returned with their latest album ‘Rising With The Sun’, a jazz/reggae masterpiece that follows their distinct musical jive.

The Melbourne six-piece managed to sneak into the Triple J Hottest 100 with their single ‘Wolves’ and were placed at number one on the ARIA charts in March, ahead of their world tour. Though the band has been busily working on album number nine, they have also played at ‘Beat The Drum’ festival in Sydney alongside Melbourne artist Owl Eyes and made appearances at a number of other international shows. Throughout 2016, The Cat Empire will tour the ‘Rising With The Sun’ album across three different continents, supported by a variety of different bands.


Felix Riebl. Photo by Chris Daniel

The album pays tribute to many emotional adversities, carrying deep underlying messages of relationships and the journey of life. From melodies about escaping difficult challenges to roaring songs of terrorism in Paris, the album shifts themes between each track.

Recently returning from the UK leg of the album release, The Cat Empire began their Australian tour. Their seventh stop on map, Newcastle University’s Bar on the Hill. The show supported by The Pierce Brothers attracted a crowd both young and old, a rare but cherished environment which managed to blow the roof off the old establishment.


Brass instrumentalists. Photo by Chris Daniel

Folk duo The Pierce Brothers,  introduced their energetic vibes and irresistible harmonies to begin the night. Their distinct Melbourne vocals blended with a clash of different instruments shows just how loud two brothers really can be, amping up the crowd with a mix of guitars, bongos and a cowbell.


The Pierce Brothers onstage at Bar on the Hill. Photo by Chris Daniel

Following The Pierce Brothers, The Cat Empire managed to maintain an eclectic mix of music playing songs both new and old spread over their overwhelming discography. Lead singers Felix Riebl and Harry James Angus took to the microphone with familiar sounds from their sixteen year career. Usually, the intimate band would ease into a setlist, however they kicked off with ‘Wolves’, the first track from their new album, with a loud and overpowering chorus line. Switching between genres is in the job description for The Cat Empire and really is something you need to hear for yourself at a live show.


Harry James Angus. Photo by Chris Daniel

The Cat Empire will be touring Australia until July, before they head to Canada. The new album ‘Rising With The Sun’ is available now.


Want more live shows? Check out these upcoming events:

Sit Down Stand Up Comedy @ GT Bar
Tuesday 17th May
Featuring Triple J Host Matt Okine and guests
Tickets $10 on door
*Free Entry for Students

UON DJ Competition @ Bar on the Hill
Wednesday 18th May

KARNIVOOL @ Bar on the Hill
Thursday 16th June
Tickets here


Feature Image: Taken at Bar On The Hill by Chris Daniel.


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