Catfish and The Bottlemen


Last week I went to a gig, this used to be a fairly regular thing, but since having a small person it’s become more of a treat, and this one I was very excited about!

I’ve really liked Catfish and the Bottlemen for a few years now. I’ve seen them go from a small band to huge, they are mainstream. So when I saw they were playing in Brighton at The Brighton Centre (lots of bands I like don’t ever venture down here….too near London I guess) I jumped at the chance! And it was a good idea, they were amazing.

I had the added bonus when I found out Twin Atlantic were supporting. Again a band I LOVE. The Scottish rockers have been a regular on my playlist for around nine years! They played an epic set with favourites from across their albums Free, The Great Divide and GLA. Songs like ‘Hold On’, ‘Free’, ‘Whispers’, ‘Brothers and Sisters’ and ‘Heart and Soul’ were well received and had fans, including myself, singing along. What I really love is how much lead singers, Sam McTrusty’s, thick Scottish comes through in every word he sings and says. After saying thanks for the chance off they went and before too long on came Catfish. From the opener ‘Loanshark’, it was clear the crowd were pleased to see them.  Swaggering on to stage in a blaze of flashing lights with two brightly coloured toucans (the artworks from their latest album) on each side of the stage they launched straight into their awesome set.

Playing hit singles like ‘Fallout’ and ‘Pacifier’ they started each track slow, moodily and with the lights off. They quickly built the pace and as each song became recognisable the crowd got more and more into it.

The band were full of energy and showed off their abilities. I liked how songs had extensions – where each member got to show off. For example ‘Anything’ stepped it up a level, the crowd went wild and the track ended with howling guitars, a drum cacophony and flashing lights.

There was no small talk from lead singer Van McCann (best name ever), he just launched straight into ‘Business’. The stage turned black and white, smoke was pumped across it to create a kind of film noir ambience. There was a real energy yet the band members all looked effortlessly cool. The TV screens at the back focused on each one individually as they did their thing.

Next came ‘Outside’, Van stood at the front of the stage while the guitars quite simply amazed, they seemed to bounce off every wall as the bass reverberated underneath. As the track came to an end the instruments all howl loudly but in a good way. ‘Hourglass’ was a much quieter affair, Van McCann’s solo performance, he played his guitar and watched as the crowd sang back every word; it must be quite an experience.

They play more hits, including ‘Fluctuate’ and of course ‘7’. This one holds a special meaning for me. This time last year I got married and 7 was one of the songs I insisted on having on the playlist. It being one Jon had not really heard, he was worried no one would know it and people might stop dancing…this was definitely not the case. As the single played both Jon and I shared a big smile and danced along. It was loud and unforgiving – a truly epic tune.

Catfish ended with ‘Tyrants’. What I really liked was that they didn’t do that thing where they leave the stage…then come back. I’ve always found that slightly annoying…what’s the point, everyone knows the band is coming back, but Catfish have decided it’s wasn’t for them. Instead it was only when they said Brighton, thank you very much you knew it was the end. The stage was then drowned in flashing lights, the screens featured crazy camera work and the extended final track ended in a cacophony of crashing drums, decreasing guitars and screaming from the crowd.

Gigs may now be a bit of a treat, which means  I savour them much more and that one was  definitely one to remember.

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