Review of Catfish and the Bottlemen Gig in Nottingham
It seems I can’t turn on a radio show or pick up a mainstream music publication without the name Catfish and The Bottlemen name being mentioned. Their huge support is led by luminary Zane Lowe.
Now this demonstrates my ignorance but up until a couple of months ago I had never heard of them. Also until recently I had never heard of MTV’s hit show Catfish, so my immediate thought was to link the two. Was this some kind of clever PR stunt? Was it actually some catfish types that hung round with bottle wielding yobs? Obviously I didn’t let that misconception linger for too long and actually bothered to look them up. Obviously I couldn’t be further from the truth.
Guitar playing welsh four-piece are causing quite a stir. Their debut album The Balcony entered the Top 10 in September and they were also recently named Best New Band at the debut BBC Music Awards.
Often acts are quite blasé where awards are concerned. Catfish and the Bottlemen do not fit that mould. The gong took pride of place at the Nottingham gig on centre stage, sat neatly on the frontman’s amp.
The band entered the stage to a massive fanfare, somewhat reminiscent of a boxer’s ring entrance. Smoke filled the stage, strobe lights erupted for a prolonged period that would have induced a fit in many and a huge backdrop of strong music. Definitely not what we are used to seeing from modern indie acts.
None of this was a distraction though, in fact, it got the crowd just where the band wanted them. The connection between band and adoring fans was clear and quite unusual in modern live music. They loved the performance of latest single Pacifier and throughout the entire show the crowd were seen bouncing as one. It was almost like frontman Van McCann was in control of a giant puppet show as he moved them all with uniform ease.
Performances of Kathleen and Homesick were memorable moments, the vocals delivered with aplomb supported with quality backing. Not that you could properly critique the performances as the crowd drowned out McCann. This was eclipsed when McCann completely removed himself from the equation for moments within the anthem Cocoon. Maybe McCann’s mum was in the crowd, because he allowed them to sing the eff’s and jeff’s – he is such a good boy mum, honest!
For me, the quality of the performance was undeniable. McCann in particular is a real showman. Leading the crowd with experience that belies their relative infant career. Catfish and the Bottlemen definitely have something. If they can continue this momentum, one can assume they will be returning to the BBC Music Awards next year to pick up another award.