It’s a grim day for humanity. It seems that all hope is lost as Dr Vent’s robots take over the- Wait! What’s that? No, it can’t be! It is! Nancy Neuron has come to save the day at last! When all hope is gone, we’re saved by the one thing we need: a superhero!
It was no bird, it was no plane, but by George was it something amazing.
Cat Southall, the girl from Aberdare with enough ambition for the whole of Wales, did nothing short of blowing Cardiff away as she and her feisty alter ego Nancy Neuron made their debut last Saturday. Clwb Ifor Bach, filled to capacity and still turning away the public, hosted the first gig of many for A Cat Southall Product, which really was something to be remembered.
Cat, weaving through a restless crowd, made her way the stage where her band patiently waited. She stood before the microphone, her large white skirt a contrast to the black her bandmates donned. The crowd, screaming for their heroine only moments ago, fell silent. A voice-over began, telling the story of how Nancy Neuron came to be. She stood, eyes closed, a microphone clasped between gloved hands, and a faint whisper of vulnerability echoed from the stage, if only for a second. But then, Cat began to sing.
The first word to an epic story reverberated around the room, as Cat sung the song she’d written what now seems like aeons ago. Beautifully tender and unguarded, the first track Hello wasted no time in bringing us into the world of Nancy Neuron, and we too felt as if we were waking up for the first time. Then, the pace picks up, and all traces of vulnerability are gone. Ripping away that large, white skirt, Cat leads us into the powerful Call of Distress, and the story of Nancy really begins to unfold.
As Cat sung to us of superheroes and tragic villains, of the balance between love and doing good, we sang the lyrics back to her. Cat’s Army, sporting Steambot masks for Dr Vent’s Creation of Man, chanting through Call of Distress, reciting the words of Look At Me, took part in the stage show which she had put on for us.
What Cat gave us that night wasn’t a gig, but a performance. She wasn’t merely singing the songs of the story she’d woven, but was executing them with such conviction that it was easy to imagine her leading this surreal second life after hours. In her face you could read the confliction of If I Tell You, the anger in Creation Of Man, the sorrow of Scream My Thoughts, and you felt a part of it with her.
It was obvious that Cat was no stranger to the stage, as her and her band’s energy could barely be contained within Clwb Ifor Bach. Watching the band play together, it was almost impossible to believe that they’d only recently become a unit. The atmosphere they produced matched that of any stadium gig I can recall. Striking the perfect balance between an intimacy with the crowd and commanding the stage, the dynamism ACSP and Cat presented was nothing short of astounding. There was no question to the audience that Cat belonged there, and that this was something she was going to do for the rest of her life. A talent that is far too big to be contained to Aberdare, Cat and ACSP need to expand further, for the good of humanity and music alike.
I’ve been lucky enough to watch Cat’s idea flourish into a reality since the beginning, and I don’t think this article does it justice. I’ve enlisted in Cat’s Army, followed the story, loved the songs, but even I wasn’t prepared for this night. Watching Cat perform showed me that she belonged nowhere else but on the stage, and I’ve never seen anyone so happy to be there. From the shiver running down my spine after that very first Hello, to the big anthemic finish that was Superheroes, I grew more and more convinced that she not only had the ambition and potential, but the passion to become something really great.
I’m so incredibly proud of you, Cat, and I think I speak for the entirety of Cat’s Army when I say: “We are one nation, every single one of us fighting for a common cause!”
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