Indie rock’s ‘Roy of the Rovers’ heroes, Catfish And The Bottlemen have shown their worth this past couple of years. Since the release of their debut album The Balcony, Llandudno’s finest have gone from strength to strength, becoming the first band to sell out a whole tour before the release of an album since Arctic Monkeys, ‘breaking’ America and becoming, arguably, the biggest band in Britain at the moment. And they certainly deserve to be where they are, they’ve been grafting since 2008. They’ve played nearly every tiny venue, pub and room up and down the country and thankfully, someone noticed them. Communion signed them in 2013, then Island signed them the following year and, obviously, they were destined to be massive.
Support for the show came in the form of New York’s The London Souls, a two piece who sounded to me like a combination between Jimi Hendrix and The White Stripes. Frontman Tash Neal’s excellent solo’s made them sound like a quartet, adding so much dynamic to their bluesy sound. They were different to the headliners, but provided a perfect warm up set to The Bottlemen.
Then it was Catfish’s time. After a successful first date at Brixton the day before (06/11/15), the band had only one thing to prove; they are the biggest band of this year and if not, this decade. They opened with album track Rango and from the word ‘go’ the crowd was up for it, something you can tell Van McCann feeds off of as he goes just as hard as his loyal fans.
Latest single Hourglass was a much-needed break for anyone in the audience, not that it took from the energy of the gig itself. 5,000 people in the packed out Academy screamed the song back to McCann word-for-word, it was almost tear-jerking.
After such an amazing show, it was almost impossible to pick a highlight but for me, it had to be brand-new song 7. It was a change from Van’s usual stance, as he set his guitar down and let guitarist Johnny ‘Bondy’ Bond work his magic. It was odd to see McCann as a standalone frontman but I think it is something he has already perfected.
The band ended on Tyrants, a track Catfish wrote at only 14 years of age. It has been a staple set closer for them and it isn’t hard to see why, the song brings so much power and is quite progressive, allowing a lot of room to jam as a band and play out their final moments on the Brixton stage for however long they want. The song, that is usually four minutes long, clocked in at around seven and a half minutes by the time they finished.
After this gig, it is clear as to why the band that used to have nothing now have everything and more; packed festival tents, a sold out tour at some of the UK’s biggest non-arena venues, fans across the world, a debut album that went Gold in the UK in April AND to top it all off, sh*t loads of money.
Expect to see Catfish And The Bottlemen in arenas, if not stadiums, very soon because they are going to be bigger than Oasis.
Catfish And The Bottlemen played:
Written by Lee Vincent