Catfish and the Bottlemen played the second of two sold out shows at the O2 Academy Brixton on Saturday 7th November 2015. They were supported by “The London Souls” and played a 12 song set- which lasted little over an hour in total.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are known for their arena-style chorus’ and energetic crowds. I’ve seen Catfish and the Bottlemen four times now, each in completely different places with varying sizes of crowds (growing in popularity over the last year greatly), each time at a festival- bar this one- where their material seems to fit perfectly into a hit crammed 40 or so minutes.
The eagerly awaiting crowd stood in near enough darkness for a few minutes prior to the bands entrance. The band came on stage, jammed for a few minutes, before bursting out into the opening chords of Rango.
After Rango, Van McCann, lead singer, instructed everyone (including those seated in the first few rows of the balcony for “safety reasons”) to stand and dance. After Pacifier, McCann had to apologise for making those seated on the balcony stand up and had to reinstate their seated position for safety reasons. He continued to say sorry multiple times for this throughout. They didn’t speak much, apart from saying “thank you” and stating their gratitude for such an incredible opportunity often, although their love for playing and entertaining (and thankfulness) was radiated throughout their performance.
They played every song from their debut album The Balcony, which was released in September last year- Every single song. The audience particularly loved “Cocoon”, “Kathleen” and “Homesick” (McCann told the audience that Homesick was the first song recorded from the album once they’d been signed to their record label and that it is the first song on the album).
They also played “Hourglass”. I’d not seen them play Hourglass live before as it lacks the typical upbeat festival show vibe, although it’s a beautiful song which addresses, honestly, teen love and all the struggles that come with it. Van played the song alone, under a spotlight, at the front of the stage, on an acoustic guitar, accompanied by only a chorus of audience singers singing with him.
They showcased new song “7” on the tour. It’s upbeat and not too dissimilar from their other material, however I’d love to hear a recorded version. I’m excited about new Catfish and the Bottlemen material and felt this was a lovely tie in the set as they’d been touring with the same material for well over a year now- It also made the set slightly longer!
The band closed with “Tyrants”- incidentally the last song on their first album- which saw the audience dancing wildly and bouncing accordingly. There was such an exciting buzz among the audience (one that’s often present at a Catfish concert). They ended with the instrumental part of Tyrants which ended the evening perfectly.
What I love about Catfish shows is that they’re short and sweet. They play literally their entire catalogue- no frilly B-sides or obscure tracks (not that they really have any)- which means literally everyone sings along word for word without awkward pauses and losing lack of interest in the band. Catfish and the Bottlemen can truly encapsulate an audience and keep their interest throughout a show- I find this quite inspiring.