Gig Review by Zak Edwards with Photography by Rob Hadley

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Curfew gigs are great. In and out like a butchers dog, miss all the late night traffic and then back in front of the box just in time for MOTD whilst all of the younger revellers go on to party the night away. This plan ordinarily works to perfection, but unfortunately the Catfish boys chose this particular weekend which coincided with the ‘International break’ so I had to make do with an episode of Family Guy or two!

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Anyhow, much of the above is largely irrelevant to tonight’s performance, so I’ll move on.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen – or to continue an abbreviation theme CATBM – have been blessed with a fairly meteoric rise to fame over the last 12 months, which although they find hard to comprehend themselves, is no surprise to anybody who follows the music industry and certainly not to the team at Gig Junkies HQ.

Catfish and the BottlemenCatfish and the Bottlemen

The boys from North Wales made their way to the stage to the backdrop of some rather grand X Factor-esq music* which, combined with the multitude of 14 year old girls in the audience, had me a little worried that I’d come to the wrong gig. I half expected diminutive Dermot O’Leary to walk out, but when Van and the gang appeared I breathed a sigh of relief and knew that we were in for an hours of good rocking.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

It instantly became apparent that 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 much up for it till the final whistle’. As were the band and especially the front man, who moshed, sang and interacted with the crowd as one. It was clear that everyone was having a ball, as the band blasted through all the tunes from their 2014 debut album The Balcony.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

There’s a lot to like about the lead singer. He’s got a great voice – an obvious prerequisite but one which has improved massively over a very short period of time. He also seems like a really nice, genuine, down to earth guy who is truly grateful about the fortunate position he and the band find themselves in. He thanked the fans several times for their continued support, introduced ‘Side Show Bob’ as the “best drummer in the World” and then pissed himself laughing mid song as he pointed out a fella crowd surfing upside down, to the obvious delight of the fans. Let’s hope he never changes…

Catfish and the Bottlemen

He cemented his position as Van ‘the Man’ when the band left the stage during ‘Homesick’ when he serenaded the fans to the outro and then a great solo rendition of ‘Hourglass’, before the rest of the guys came back on stage to finish off with customary staples ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Tyrants’.

Catfish and the BottlemenCatfish and the Bottlemen

My only criticism would be that the band didn’t treat the fans to 1 or 2 new numbers. Most likely at the behest of the record label, the singer did apologise for this and assured fans that a new album was complete and would be in record shops soon (they do still exist).

Catfish and the Bottlemen

A special shout has to go out to the Brummie fans. They really were immense – crowd surfing, moshing and singing along to every request from Mr McCann. At one stage even a guitar solo got a singalong. Once more it was a very special gig and one which those in attendance will not forget in a hurry. Come back to Birmingham soon CATBM!

Set List: Rango / Pacifier / Sidewinder / Fallout / 26 / Business / Kathleen / Homesick / Hourglass / Cocoon / Tyrants

*Summer Night by WM Dance Party for those interested

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Support for tonight’s gig came from English indie rock trio Little Comets.

Little Comets

Little Comets

Little Comets

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