The massive headlining tour for The Cat Empire and Xavier Rudd kicked off on Australia day in Hobart, raving reviews from all artists on this one incredible lineup. We got to head along to to the concert at Red Devil Park in Byron Bay, as soon as I saw the full lineup of this concert I just knew I had to head along. One thing I had heard from punters from previous shows on this tour is that people were coming early to catch the support acts which I feel is something that is growing for festival and concert goers. And why wouldn’t you want to catch the supports acts especially when they are Sahara Beck, Ocean Alley and Harts!
The beautiful Sahara Beck from ol Sunny QLD graced the audience with her incredible vocal range and fast paced blues and country- esque tracks that’ll make you get out of your seat. Sahara has been a friend of Rabbit Radio’s for quite some time so we were at the front of the show with plenty of bells on, Sahara has been popping up quite frequently on festival lineups and this lineup is one which she suits incredibly well. I think she would’ve picked up on a large number of fans from doing these shows which is amazing, she has also has great merch with one epic t-shirt and slogan, you’ll have to check it out..
The sun was well and truly beaming down on the Byron crowd but that was something we were all pretty used to, luckily the concert in Byron was under a huge tent that helped prevent many sunburns and unpleasant concert goers. One of the biggest bands on the touring circuit at the moment were next on the bill, Ocean Alley. Just a bunch of lovely talented dudes who know how to create rad songs that’ll be stuck in your head for days. The tent was filling up with copious amounts of humans, all moving and grooving. The Ocean Alley boys full of smiles and bringing such a lovely vibe to the festival, the well and truly brought a young crowd to the show. Something I love about this band is that they are purely popular from word of mouth and playing gigs, very little radio play but everyone just knows and loves them because they are one hell of a good band live.
Harts was on the bill next, the man who was loved by music god Prince, the man who shreds on guitar, and the man who has some crazy facial expressions whilst shredding. I saw Harts at Bluesfest last year and it was just a two piece, Harts and his drummer but a sneaky edition of a bass player has been incorporated and it really adds to the epic sound. Heaps of well known tracks off his ‘Smoke Fire Hope Desire’ album out a few months ago such as ‘Peculiar’, ‘Power’ and ‘Unfamiliar’. I think Harts is an artist you don’t truly appreciate until you see him live.
As the sun started to set more bodies filled up the festival grounds, people finishing work, meeting up with friends etc. I loved how family orientated this festival was, little kids running around, old couples, young people it was really nice to see a whole bunch of different demographics come together through live music.
Xavier Rudd and his United Nations took the stage, everyone went ballistic !! Bodies moving and shaking as soon as the first drum beat was made, Xavier has a power over his audiences, everyone kinda is in a trance, it’s really interesting to watch. Huge tracks like ‘Follow The Sun’ and ‘Better People’ had everyone singing along. I love watching Xavier Rudd with the United Nations band because it adds a whole different element to the live show, especially Bobby Alu on the drums and percussion mostly because he’s the biggest legend out and a friend of Rabbit Radio.
The Cat Empire were last to finish off the evening, there were a hell of a lotta people but luckily there was room to dance like a loonatic with your friends. Harry Angus and Felix always amaze me with their voices, both so bloody different but both so amazing. So smooth and unique, I remember seeing The Cat Empire back in 2009 at Woodford Folk Festival and I still recall that show being one of the best I’ve seen and The Cat Empire do not age, well they age like a good wine. They keep getting better, don’t ever stop touring or making music please.
Whadda day, only thing I would like to see change is the no Pass Out’s option but other than I had a ripppppper day!
Reviewer: Sarah McEwan
Photography: Erin McKenzie