QUAYS News entertainment reporter Hollie Rees was at Catfish and the Bottlemen last night, here’s what she made of it…

The first of two sold out nights at Manchester’s O2 Apollo saw Llandudno four-piece, Catfish and the Bottlemen, bring the huge venue to life with a non-stop whirlwind of popular tracks taken from their 2014 debut album, ‘The Balcony’, as well as a taster of what’s next on the rock band’s agenda with the performance of a highly anticipated new song.

Warming up the crowd at the start of the evening was New York based duo, The London Souls. Their 40 minute set was packed full of energy and skilled guitar and drum solos, with each song receiving a supportive response from the audience.

The duo’s unique style, big haircuts and sounds comparable to and clearly influenced by both Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, proved them to be an interesting support for the Welsh rockers. During the performance, vocalist Tash Neal, told the crowd that they were “in for a treat” with Catfish’s set.

With half an hour to go before they took to the stage, everyone in the room was eagerly awaiting the group’s arrival. The Coronation Street theme tune played out during the interval alongside well-known indie tracks, which was met with confusion and laughter, mirroring the band’s laid back and jokey approach to what they do.


After making their way onto stage, being met with loud uncontrollable cheers and giving a quick unnecessary introduction, the band burst into ‘Rango’. Stage lights flashed and the energy in the room completely changed. Everyone around me in the crowd appeared lost in the moment from the very start, shouting every word back at ultra-cool front man, Van McCann.

The crowd, made up of mostly teenagers, used second track, ‘Pacifier,’ as an opportunity to open up several mosh pits. Sometimes known for causing annoyance to others in crowds, these particular ones just added to the atmosphere and every adrenaline-filled body donned a grin as the faultless upbeat performance carried on in front.

Dressed in denim and with his hair slick back, McCann made an effort with the crowd, pointing and grinning at those on shoulders and encouraging fans with seated tickets up on the balcony to stand. Swinging both his body and guitar around as the other three members played their respective instruments; he proved that he’s the right front man for the job.

Catfish and the Bottlemen 2The tempo lowered with a chilled rendition of ‘Hourglass’ – which was still met with fans singing along – but acted as a bit of a breather, as the crowd came to a kind of standstill and caught their breath back.

Classic tracks ‘Fallout,’ ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Kathleen’ were all on the evening’s set list, as well as brand new track ‘7,’ which radiated a more mature sound, venturing slightly away from teenage tales of young love and despair and hinting towards a different direction for the sound of the young band.

More tracks from the album, ‘Business,’ ’26,’ and ‘Sidewinder’ were all played and McCann repeatedly thanked those in the crowd who bought the album when it was released last year.

Bringing the set to a close was ‘Tyrants,’ a track which the band have used to close gigs with in the past. An elongated instrumental played out as sweaty fans repeatedly chanted “Here we, here we, here we f*****g go!”

The crowd were left itching for more but after an incredible non-stop, hour-long set, nobody could be disappointed with what they’d just been treated to.

All of their songs, full of guitars, quirky lyrics and occasional swearing, were polished and full of energy, with this gig being much bigger than their previous ones in Manchester. Catfish and the Bottlemen continue to get bigger and more well-known and last night’s opening gig in Manchester proved that won’t be stopping any time soon.


By: Hollie Rees

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