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DATE: Friday 15th March 2019
VENUE: Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, UK
Review & Photography by Mark Holmes
With their third studio album just released, 'Day Trip to Narnia', Cats in Space arrived in Nottingham, mid-March, for a day-trip to the Rescue Rooms, as did hordes of their loyal fans as, when the band take to the stage at 8:50pm, the venue's nicely full. And, effectively, what they deliver this evening is an arena show in a 450 capacity venue. That's the vibe this bunch of talented ailurophiles convey through their performance, which is slick, tight, professional, fun and, most importantly, chock-full of anthemic, hook-fuelled songs that offer up an authentic celebration of 70s music in the most entertaining of ways. And punters in attendance lap up every bar of music as if a clowder of frenzied feline figures at feeding time.

Dipping into all three of their albums, the new material sounds just as magnificent as the tried-and-tested, so opener 'Johnny Rocket' from 'Day Trip...' feels right at home next to the title track from 'Too Many Gods' and 'Scarecrow' number, 'Mad Hatter's Tea Party'. A magnificent trio of songs to commence their set, and a fine showcase for the magic these guys are able to conjure on a stage. Vocal lines (Paul Manzi's a phenomenal singer); vocal harmonies (jeez, this is a band with more than one lead vocalist... they can all sing brilliantly!); melodies; refrains; chord changes; vigorous rhythmic drive (Steevi Bacon bashes the hell out of his kit with both the gracefulness and savage instincts of a cat) - all astoundingly impressive in a live context. And it's all delivered with an equally engaging energy and passionately powerful performance. And fun... despite some of the observational whinging in the lyrics, such as the airing of 'Hologram Man' later in the evening (although it's a whinge with which I wholeheartedly agree... and "grumpy is funny" as the great Rick Wakeman once told me).

After a dozen cuts loaded with a serious amount of claw-tastic hooks, the cats exit the stage to screams, cheers and applause, before returning for an encore airing of their refreshing, heavied-up take on disco, 'Thunder in the Night', which sees the venue bounce up and down to its four-on-the-floor impetus. As the track climaxes with a thunderous Iron Maiden style outro, Cats in Space's 70 minute set seems to have whizzed by. A good sign, though, as it's been a ridiculously entertaining 70 minutes.

These cats have, of course, already brought their show to arenas, as support act (or should that be support cat?) on Thunder, Deep Purple and Status Quo tours. With an ever-growing fanbase, perennially glowing media praise, a phenomenally entertaining live show and the talent to back it all up, I predict it's only a matter of time before Cats in Space are back in arenas as headliners.
Click on thumbnails for larger images:
Cats in Space at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham, UK, 15th March 2019
Photograph copyright 2019 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
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