The Cat Empire call time on original lineup, announce farewell shows

The Cat Empire call time on original lineup, announce farewell shows

The Cat Empire

Beloved Melbourne band The Cat Empire have announced a farewell tour before two members launch a "reimagined" new project.

The Cat Empire as Australians know and love them will be no more, announcing that the original 20-year line-up of the band will play their final shows together in December 2021, with Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill moving forward as members of the next iteration of the band.

During a career that has seen close to 1,500 joyous live shows played across the planet over the past two decades, The Cat Empire became a much loved pillar of Australian funk music.

What you need to know

  • The Cat Empire are bidding fans farewell as four members and their manager depart the band
  • They’ll play a final Melbourne show on Thursday December 16 at Sidney Myer Music Bowl
  • Two founding members will continue the band as a “reimagined” project

Stay up to date with what’s happening in Melbourne here.

The band will continue in the hands of founding members Felix and Ollie, who are assuring fans that they will continue to tour. Australian audiences will have the chance to farewell the original line-up of The Cat Empire with final shows planned for December in WA, QLD and VIC, including a global virtual concert on Thursday Dec 18.

The continuing members of The Cat Empire have announced they’ll continue “as a re-imagined, vibrant, cross-cultural, and joyful collective of musicians and artists.”

“After 20 incredible years of touring and making music together, we have made the decision to disband, and to make way for a new incarnation of The Cat Empire to come to life fronted by Felix and Ollie,” the band said.

“Will (Drums), Ryan (Bass-departed the band March 2021), Harry (Vox/Trumpet), Jamshid Dj Jumps (Decks/Percussion), and our Manager Correne will all be celebrating final moments with The Cat Empire in December 2021.

“At this juncture, Felix (Front-man/Percussion) and Ollie (Keys) will take the band forward into its next global chapter as a re-imagined, vibrant, cross-cultural, and joyful collective of musicians and artists.

“The Cat Empire began as a musical jazz project in Melbourne, Australia in 2001, and took on a life of its own, so much bigger than any of us could have even dreamed or imagined.  As we look back on the past two decades, we are so proud of what we achieved; from the (almost 1500) live shows and festivals we have played around the world, to the seven studio albums which resulted in global chart success, as well as our cherished independence, and more importantly the interpersonal experiences we amassed and grew from. We directed our own musical adventure and created our own opportunities along the way.

“We’ve played Letterman and Leno, Bonnaroo and SummerStage NYC, opened the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, performed at Bluesfest 15 times, Falls Festival 11, Woodford Folk 10, Winnipeg Folk Festival 8 times, and Blues Balls (Switzerland) and Adelaide Fringe 7 times each.  More than half of our live audience lives in Europe.  We hold the record for the most shows played in a row at Edinburgh Festival (16), and in 2019 we played Glastonbury twice!

“We cherish our global audience who took us into their hearts, homes, venues and festivals, returning over and over to sing and dance with us.  As we toured the world, our fanbase grew and so did we. The enthusiasm of our audience has sustained us through tough times and has kept us making and delivering music for all these years. We’ve met babies named after us, heard heart-warming and heart-wrenching stories about what our music has meant to people, and we’ve seen hundreds of tattoos of our logo on various body parts! We are forever indebted to every one of the lovely faces in the crowd at each of our shows, for the joy you showered back at us over two decades.

“We have so much to celebrate. We leave each other with full hearts, healthy relationships, and a deep respect for each other and the musical journey we have shared together, and with the world.  We firmly believe The Cat Empire has an enduring mission to continue to bring great music, exemplary musicianship, and joyful moments to the world.  The spirit of the band will flow through to the next chapter as Felix and Ollie and many guest musicians grow The Cat Empire into a global collective with new and exciting music set for release in 2022.”

The we will celebrate the past 20 years of The Cat Empire will play a final Victorian performance with the original line-up at The Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Thursday December 16.

The Cat Empire Original Line-Up Final Shows

Sunday December 5, 2021 – Sandstone Point Hotel QLD (18+)
Saturday December 11, 2021 – Red Hill Auditorium WA (under 18’s permitted with a guardian)
Thursday December 16, 2021 – Sidney Myer Music Bowl VIC (all ages)
Saturday, December 18, 2021 – Virtual Concert of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl Melbourne Final VIC Show

They’ll also share two more brand new songs in October following on from the July release of Going To Live and Great Beauty and August release of The Scream and Coming To Meet You.

Tickets for the WA, QLD and VIC shows, as well as tickets to attend the virtual final concert of the original line-up will go on sale at 10am on Tuesday September 21.