Words by Laura Whitters.
Since releasing their debut album, The Balcony, The Bottlemen have quickly become fan favourites in the Indie music industry. But this isn’t just for their studio work, but their gigs too. They’ve become renowned for their brilliant live presence and high quality gigs. And, after seeing them myself, I can say this reputation has been rightfully earned.
The support act July Talk are a Canadian band who had caught The Bottlemen’s eye when they were touring in America. This band was admittedly bizarre in their performance but I must admit, I was a fan of several of the songs they played in their half hour slot prior to The Bottlemen’s set. I recommend you give them a listen, they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but they may be yours.
Around 30 minutes after July Talk left the stage, the lights began to dim and The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’ began to blare out of the speakers. And then, McCann, Bond, Hall and Blakeway stepped onto the stage and 12,000 pairs of eyes were drawn to them at once. The lads were met with screams of excitement and approval, and a sea of raised hands, as though even those at the back of the venue were reaching out to their heroes. Following setlist tradition, they opened with ‘Homesick’, from The Balcony and from the first second, they had the entire crowd singing along, not missing a single word. Following this, they played ‘Kathleen’ and ‘Soundcheck’ and although the crowd was well and truly warmed up, I could not have anticipated just how incredible the scenes would be when they played ‘Pacifier’. People were screaming lyrics, joining in with guitar lines and mosh pits were opening all around. (Of course I joined in with all of those).
The setlist featured a perfect balance of tracks from their debut album and The Ride, which was released earlier this year. Songs such as ‘Red’ and ‘Postpone’ graced the setlist, the latter of which features in the latest Fifa, something the band are incredibly proud of, (they’re probably prouder of that than their Brit). And of course, later in the gig, Van was left onstage alone as the rest of the band took a break so he could play the beauty of an acoustic song that is ‘Hourglass’. A song that’ll truly pull on your heartstrings, witnessing it live had me close to tears. The crowd merely needed prompting; Van hardly had to sing, for the 12,000 strong crowd had it under their control.
Catfish and the Bottlemen have the talent of being able to engage with and amaze their audience without fail, something that always has been and forever will be valued in music. Even if someone who had never heard of the band attended a gig, they would find it impossible to not enjoy the experience.
So, if you ever have the chance to go see Catfish and the Bottlemen , do not let it slip away.
Written by Laura Whitters, you can follow her on twitter here.