Gig review by Zak Edwards with photography by Bianca Barrett

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Surprisingly, it was the little room (AKA the Library) that we were directed to see the current media darlings Catfish and the Bottlemen at The Institute in Brummieland. Splendid! Based on what I’d seen online of their previous gigs, it was going to get niiiiiccceee and sweaty!

Support came in the guise of two young ladies, all the way from Scotland, going by the name of Honeyblood. They reminded my greatly of when I’d seen Courtney Love’s Hole back in the late 80’s, but less of that. By a bizarre twist, Miss Loves outfit were themselves supporting Mudhoney and here I was 25 years later watching a band, whose moniker is based around the stuff that comes out of Bees bums. Spooky!

The Glaswegian twosome, played to the backdrop of the Bottlemens insignia and a rather fetching drum skin featuring the ‘boat race’ of a certain Mr Olly Murs. Lovely stuff.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Best mate, Barry the Celebrity roadie, made his way to set up the gear to the delight of some of the female members of the crowd (#player) and then at 9pm on the dot, the boys made their way on to the stage, very much to the adulation of the Brummie youngsters and to a rather impressive symphonic piece of classical music. Not what I expected.

Initially the sound was really poor as the band launched into the screaming intro of ‘Rango’. This was either down to the soundman not quite having the mix right, or the fact that I had done back to back metal gigs and had a touch of the sniffles. Thus my dodgy ears were playing up. By the 3rd song however (Sidewinder for the set list junkies) the sound had greatly improved. Either that or my Vicks Vaporub had started to kick in proper! Either way my aural appreciation for the Indie Rockers from North Wales grew immeasurably as the gig lengthened in time.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

None of this seemed to matter a jot to their adoring band of fans. Each song was greeted in a similar vein… Massive cheer, a mosh pit covering the entire floor and a multitude of crowd surfers – much to the dismay of the security. Oh yes – and a huuuuuuuge sing along, from the passionate crowd – most of which was in tune.

“Have you met Side Show Bob, the best drummer in the World?” quipped the impressively named Ryan Van McCann, in reference to the drummers uncanny resemblance to the Simpsons character. I’m sure Phil Collins would have something to say about this claim, but the drummer – along with his fellow guitarists make for the perfect foil for the charismatic frontman. Kathleen followed these percussive plaudits and for me this was the best tune of the evening, but I am biased as this is my middle name.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Homesick signalled yet another crowd sing-a-long and for the umpteenth time of the evening the singer simply moved away from the mic and let the crowd do the work, much to his obvious delight.

For me, the thing that sets Catfish apart from a lot of the young bands at the moment is – that with few exceptions – their songs all have big melodic choruses. They border on the anthemic. Think early Kasabian and Oasis and there’s your parallel. Massive sing-a-long tunes which appeal to the youngsters of today (and some of us oldies too!).

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Following some tooth picking from the singer (I don’t think Hendrix has a lot to worry about) and more bopping from the front man, it was time for them to belt out their last tune of the day; Tyrant. This was the signal for a crescendo of crowd surfing. It was immense. At one point there were more people in the air than there were on the floor. Excellent work Brummies. Visibly ecstatic about the mayhem, the band duly obliged and notched the rock level up to 11.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

And then that was that. Lots of sweaty smiling people leaving the venue, looking forward to when the boys come back in March to the bigger venue.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

One Response to “Catfish and the Bottlemen + Honeyblood at The Institute, Birmingham, UK – 7th December 2014”

  1. Gig Reviews | Gig Photography | Interviews | Competitions from Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Catfish and the Bottlemen + Little Comets at The Institute, Birmingham, UK – 28th March 2015 Says:

    […] this was a much more relaxed and confident band than had appeared at the venues smaller room some 4 months previously. This confidence transcended to the crowd, who – to continue a footballing theme were ‘very […]

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