Before the band kicked off their two-hour set at the lovely Seven Stars pub in Canterbury on Thursday night, I had the chance to have a quick chat with them. When asked to describe their sound in three words, ‘soulful’, ‘funky’, and ‘jazz’ were the first words that were mentioned, and this is the perfect way to describe Dulcie May And The Mystery Cats. The passion that was produced with every song flowed through the air and created an absolutely wonderful atmosphere, as a combination of fans of the band, wandering drunks and pub locals, all converged upon one place and witnessed a truly spectacular musical feast.
The band members themselves are perfect for this kind of life. Not being afraid to talk to the audience created a friendly persona, and an honourable mention must go out to saxophonist Hamish Simpson. This man was a real treat to watch, as he ran out of the pub every now and then to try and lure more people in, tempting and serenading them with his masterful saxophone playing. These are the types of things I look for in a gig: a band with a sense of humour. The Mystery Cats have this in abundance.
Now, I'm a metal head through and through, so for me to say that I enjoyed listening to this jazz band is something out of the norm. Yet, I can't seem to find any reason to criticize this band. With their own songs the band showed that they aren't afraid to mix it up; to range from slow and moody soul songs, all the way to high energy and foot tapping jazz, is something quite impressive. When I say that they can do this all in the same song, it becomes something even more exciting. When you add on a number of covers that are as diverse as Chaka Khan's 'Ain't Nobody' to Michael Jackson's 'Billy Jean', things get better and better. A special mention has to go out to the cover of ‘Billy Jean’, as the combination of Dulcie May's passionate voice and ludicrously wide vocal range, and Thomas Abraham's guitar playing, was on such a perfect level that it was an utterly unique cover and became a personal highlight of the night.
In five years’ time the band said that they want to be travelling the world with their music, and I have no doubts that they will. If they carry on this high level of live music mastery, they will no doubt be able to make it there and further. It was two hours of passion, laughter and all-round goodness that was a real treat for the senses. A true sign of a good gig is the ability to bring people together, and Dulcie May And The Mystery Cats created an aura of friendly vibes that made it hard to think of anything but brilliant things for this band’s future.