Catfish and The Bottlemen @ Electric Ballroom w/ The Crookes

The Crookes @ Electric Ballroom (c) Laurie McShea

Van McCann has come into his own.

The first time I saw Brit Breakthrough Award winners Catfish and The Bottlemen live was back in December 2011, at The Old Queen’s Head in Islington. The second time, when we reviewed their show at Nambucca on Holloway Road. Their rise was inevitable.

I’ve never been a fan of larger music venues, but tonight at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, it’s evident that McCann has finally acquired the space, and the swagger, he needs to dispel the massive energy that has carried them to become the band they are today. Albeit, not as big as some of the other stages they’re playing these days.

Support came in the form of The Crookes, who we featured as one of our Five Unsigned bands back in our sixth print edition – and on CD with ‘Chorus Of Fools’ and ‘Yes, Yes, We’re Magicians’ – in the summer of 2010. The Sheffield band pulled a sizeable crowd early doors, for their seventy-seventh, and final, live show to promote the launch of their fifth album, Lucky Ones, earlier this year.

A massive light show to the sound of The Beatles‘ ‘Helter Skelter’, marks the imminent arrival of Catfish and The Bottlemen on stage. The audience are wild, having erupted sporadically to any movement in the run up to the main event. I wonder what other tracks have seen the band to the stage, given that this one celebrates that they’re up there and they’re fucking loving it. Fair play. This is one of the hardest working bands I’ve ever known, and they deserve it.

Tonight’s show kicks off with ‘Homesick’, aptly named wherever they are, I guess.”He’s got a clean shirt on,” said some girl on the balcony, “He’s wearing a jacket,” replied her pal, before randomly screaming. And so it began.

This was a sold out show, and the sea of people below spent the rest of the evening with their hands in the air, either moving as one, or bobbing erratically to an array of familiar tunes from their first breakthrough album. ‘Kathleen’, ‘Pacifier’, ‘Sidewinder’ (one of the first tunes I loved by the band), ‘26’, ‘Business’, ‘Fallout’, ‘Rango’, ‘Hourglass’ and ‘Cocoon’, were interjected with the more recent ‘Soundcheck’, ‘Anything’, ‘Twice’ and their latest single, and massive crowd pleaser, ‘7’.

“Our new album is out at midnight tomorrow,” McCann told the crowd, before launching into closing track, ‘Tyrants’. Although it was ‘7’ that was still lodged in the brains of the audience as they spilled out into the night. “I don’t think through things, I never get time… I don’t think things through…” sang out a fellow passenger on the underground. Safe to say, the new single’s a winner. Aren’t they all?

Catfish and the Bottlemen are: Van McCann (vocals/guitar), Johnny Bond (guitar), Benji Blakeaway (bass) and Bob Hall (drums).

The band have just announced a new string of UK dates for November, including their biggest show to date at The SSE Arena Wembley on the 15th. Check website for full tour dates and festivals.

Sophomore album, The Ride, is out now.

05 – Derby Arena, Derby
06 – BIC, Bournemouth
09 – Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
10 – Victoria Warehouse, Manchester
13 – SECC Arena Hall 3, Glasgow
15 – The SSE Arena Wembley, London
17 – Ricoh Arena, Coventry

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Words: Sarah Hardy
Photos: Laurie McShea

Want more? Check out Introducing: Catfish and The Bottlemen from the FASHION.MUSIC.STYLE archive.