Catfish and the Bottlemen stun with crowd-pleasers and new material at Exhibition
When the rest of indie music went artsy in early 2010s, Catfish and the Bottlemen carried on straight and found that a heady mix of wailing guitars, pumping drums and catchy choruses drew in the thousands. Their three albums have all hit the top ten in the UK charts, and with them the unforgettable four-piece have toured continents, played festivals, and built a fan base that spans across the age ranges.
At the Exhibition in London last night, in aid of the charity War Child, the band’s potent formula paid off once again. As part of the series BRITs Week Together with O2 for War Child, Catfish and the Bottlemen brought the ceiling crashing down with a set that had everyone jumping, waving arms in the air and beer-slinging from before the first chorus.
They kicked off with Longshot, an electric opener that pulled young audience members onto each other’s shoulders from the opening lines. It was closely followed by Kathleen and Soundcheck; the performance seemed to be headed in a predictable direction. Despite releasing their third album in 2019 and a small host of EPs, most of the band’s material came from their first two albums. But no one here was complaining – in fact the room was filled with people shouting along to frontman Van McCann’s every word.
When Sidetrack, a wailer from their third album, made an appearance, the mood changed noticeably both on and off the stage. Disguised somewhat under the deep blue lights, Catfish seemed a little more unsure of themselves on this one, and a couple of thirsty-looking audience members headed off in the direction of the bar.
But as ever, they brought it back – this time with Conversation, another song from the same album. Paired with Overlap, McCann and the rest of the band seemed to have regained their composure. They even indulged in a three-minute instrumental interlude, trapping the lively audience in a moment of calm silence.
Fan favourites 7 and Cocoon rounded off the show, pulling them back to their earlier work for a momentous finish. This is a band that, despite criticism over the years, have remained true to themselves. They have refused to bend to convention or the pressure to reinvent themselves and it’s a relief to see.
Photos: Virginie Viche
For further information and future events visit Catfish and the Bottlemen’s website here.
Watch the video for the single here: