In 2014, a UK group named Catfish & the Bottlemen released its groundbreaking debut The Balcony that catapulted them into the indie rock scene. The band hasn’t slowed down since and stopped in Columbus Sunday to support their newest release The Ride.
Catfish & the Bottlemen’s influence come primarily from older British rock bands such as Oasis and The Rolling Stones. You can see this come into play in their live performance since they rely on giving fans a genuine live rock show instead of using outrageous production to overshadow the music.
Before coming out, the audience in the pit and on top of the balcony swayed back and forth to the collective of funkadelic tracks to keep the buzzing energy alive. Stage lights shined on their enormous black and white banner with the band logo while fog seeped through the air. Even though it wasn’t sold out, I could definitely see the reach that Catfish & The Bottlemen have been able to attract in the two years of being known.
The lights in Newport Music Hall dimmed as cheers erupted throughout the room and red stage lights flickered as the band emerged on stage. The soft opening of “Homesick” started while front man Van McCann crooned the lyrics in ragged fashion before the rest of the band joined in for the rocky chorus. The band’s energy seemed to be in high spirits as they continued on to “Kathleen” and “Soundcheck.” McCann made sure to say hello to the crowd and stood on top of amps in true rock star fashion while performing.
While Catfish & The Bottlemen played a heavily reliant The Balcony set list, the crowd really seemed to enjoy the five songs off of The Ride that were played during the night (“Soundcheck,” “Anything,” “Red,” “Twice,” and “7”) seeming to know the lyrics like the back of their hand.
The first half of the show was a little too heavy with an abundance of the band’s rockier songs being played back to back. I felt that they needed to add the two slower songs smack dab in the middle to keep the show going and to open up for an energetic finish. However, when McCann came out by himself to perform “Hourglass” with only a guitar and shining stage light on him, it proved to be the most endearing part of the show and where the crowd really felt connected. I know I did.
McCann is good live vocalist which I wasn’t expecting.
At some points it was difficult to hear McCann talking in between songs because of his really thick English accent and the amplification of the guitars. Either McCann’s mic needed to be tuned up or the guitars tuned down.
The use of blinding strobe lights in different arrays of colors flickered throughout the show which was distracting at times.
For being one of the last couple of stops on the band’s U.S. leg, I was surprised to see how energized the band was which made the experience, in my opinion, better for the fans in the long run.
Catfish & The Bottlemen ended their show with their song “Tyrants” off The Balcony which made for a good ending to their set list. The song incorporates some of their best musical and lyrical content. It was an electric way to finish off the show.
Between Catfish & the Bottlemen’s growing success and the performance they gave, I understand why they have taken off in the way that they have.
You can stream The Ride below: