You know there’s something special going on when just under 2000 punters rock up to suburban Helensvale on a Sunday night. Even at 6.00pm the line up the pathway was abuzz, excited music lovers keen for a dance in the Paddock at NightQuarter. And dance they did.
But not before the impressive voice of Sydney singer/songwriter Odette thrilled the crowd. The child of a South African mother, and jazz pianist grandfather, Odette delivered a variety of upbeat tracks from her ‘To a Stranger’ album with her three-piece band, flanking either side of a small set of what she described as “the emo section of the gig”, where she showcased her heartfelt lyrics and the tear-inducing melancholy beauty of her voice. Her cover of The Cranberries’ ‘Zombie’ was sensational and was met with rousing applause.
The NightQuarter sure does draw a vocal crowd. Maybe it’s the unique acoustics of the corrugated iron roof of the Paddock, but as The Cat Empire took the stage with their 8 pieces of collective musical prowess and enthusiasm, the 1800 strong crowd surged to their feet ready to move and sing. After a few newer, catchy ditties, and some from a forthcoming new album, frontman Felix noted a certain interviewer that had delivered a poignant and compelling conversation for an unnamed media outlet, and then dedicated to her, their hit ‘Hello’. Everyone approved. (As an aside, I must say it was quite nice to see a media person applauded for their work. Nice one, Marlena.)
Harry Angus’ horn section brought a battle to stage not long after, with trumpets and trombones going head to head. Every musician enjoyed their chance to improvise throughout, a typical experience in a Cat Empire set, from percussion to keys, to decks and bass. An hour or more flew by and Felix announced the following song “would be the last new song we sing tonight…” prompting a certain Helensvale politician, upon hearing the intro, to become convinced JPY’s ‘Love is in the Air’ was about to be covered. He turned out to be very wrong, but nonetheless appeared to enjoy the new boogie in his ‘hood.
Everyone loves the chance to sing as one, and Felix and Harry and their Empire gave every honorary Helensvillain the chance, closing the set and the encore with familiar tunes with those catchy Cat Empire hooks, easy to sing and laugh and enjoy. They made some noise, the crowd! Still Young left the crowd content, calling on the people of the Gold Coast to “find your heart, find your soul” – in live music perhaps, methinks. The NightQuarter is surely helping the people of the city to do just that, if The Cat Empire’s satisfied fans are any indication.
IMAGES (c) Danny Santangelo Photography<