After a freezing walk and a long time queuing outside The Institute in Birmingham we piled inside ready for Catfish and the Bottlemen’s sell out performance.
Just as I was starting to get the feeling back in my fingers Scottish duo Honeyblood [6/10] came onto the stage for their supporting performance. Consisting of a drummer and guitarist/singer they gave a great performance to a crowd who nodded along appreciatively and seemed to enjoy the performance. The vocals were of an extremely high quality but the songs did start to blend into one another towards the end of the set. However, overall a great performance and I really enjoyed the track ‘Super rat’ as the two girls worked really well together and definitely offered a sense of girl power that even Avril Lavigne would give a nod to.
All skinny jeans and unbrushed hair, Catfish and the Bottlemen [9/10] entered the stage to an eruption from the crowd, immediately kicking off with the well-known track ‘Rango’, they just let the crescendo of electric guitar do the talking. Ten minutes in I was covered in beer, surrounded by sweaty fans and completely absorbed by the energy and atmosphere of the crowd. The entire room had dissolved into one big moshpit as you found yourself being moved from one side of the room to the other in a matter of seconds.
After working their way through the music industry “the good old fashioned way”, being signed in 2013 and a string of successful singles such as ‘Homesick’, ‘Rango’, and ‘Pacifier’, their long awaited debut album ‘The Balcony’ was released on the 15th September which judging by the amount of fans that piled into the venue- is extremely popular.
The four guys from Wales have a unique sound and it is not just their unusual band name which stands out. The band consistently produce high quality indie rock tracks that you can’t help but dance to, and are perfectly suited to live performances such as this. They almost reminded me of Oasis when it came to the style of the actual music and the use of guitar (just without the arrogance or dilated pupils). The band joked about ‘Side Show Bob’ on the drums and even offered fans to join them for a drink after the show. They seemed blown away by the support they were receiving from the crowd and lead singer Van McCann’s continuous gratitude made the band likeable, it seemed they didn’t feel the need to prove themselves, their music was enough.
New songs from the album such as ‘Business’ and ‘26’ were woven between oldies like ‘Kathleen’ and my personal favourite ‘Fallout’, but were all greeted with equal enthusiasm from the crowd who screamed back every word. Van was able to step back from the microphone multiple times and let the crowd take over as there didn’t seem to be a member of the audience who didn’t know the tracks by heart. Every song had a way of building and building until breaking into the chorus with an eruption of guitar, complimented by powerful vocals and rocky drum beats.
Finishing on ‘Tyrants’ Catfish and the Bottlemen went out with a bang as they built up a phenomenal wall of sound then proceeded to knock it down. As the sound filled the room so did the crowd surfers until there were probably more people in the air than with both feet on the ground. Every arm was raised and the band finished the set in style. It was not followed by an encore which may have slightly disappointed fans who were desperate for more, however if the foursome had played all night it wouldn’t have been enough to satisfy such an energetic crowd. The buzz of excitement followed fans as they piled out; sweaty, beer-drenched and blown away by the performance. I would definitely recommend going to see these masters of indie rock perform. Well, if you can find a date that hasn’t already sold out.