Sunday 19 November 2023

Live Review: CMAT, SWX Bristol 18 November 2023

Following the release of her critically acclaimed second album 'Crazymad, for Me' in October, CMAT's sold out show at Bristol's SWX proved to be an eruption of pure joy and jubilation. 

Just about able to see over the crowd of cowboy hats and embroidered merchandised caps, Ciara Mary-Alice Thompson emerged to a roar of cheers as the band wasted no time in getting in to the swing of California before switching pace in knee-jerk fashion for the sultry new album track I... Hate Who I Am When I'm Horny

"You don't have to take your clothes off to enjoy a CMAT show, and I can't encourage it, but we do love it" Ciara explained as tops came off and were swung around in windmill fashion just 3 songs in to their set.

For anyone who's not been to a CMAT show before, you'll soon learn she spends a lot of time sprawling over the floor so anyone at the back of the room doesn't have much to witness, but that still doesn't stop her from hitting the high notes and belting out her lungs, received to rapturous applause. A feat in itself when you realise it's all done whilst swimming on her chest, air cycling upside down and mastering the splits.

With tales of buttering sandwiches the show is as wild as can be expected with a stage presence like no other and the music to match. From country twinged pop songs to 'fuck your ex' ballads, there's real depth to the songwriting and in the live environment the fun side is allowed out to play. And play it does. From synchronised dancing, air kicking guitar sections and a set design that was theatrical as a west end stage show, the dazzling display raised the bar of pop performance to astronomical levels.

But sadly all good things must come to an end, as the band returned for a hat-trick encore featuring Rent and I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!, which saw the whole crowd and balcony swaying in two-step rhythm before CMAT announced "I can't go just yet, I have to Stay for Something". A seamless segue.

Be sure to catch CMAT in these semi-intimate venues before it's too late on her trajectory.

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