Catfish and the Bottlemen have undoubtedly seen a monumental ascent in their popularity, with their quick-witted lyrics and illustrious riffs seeing their recent album The Ride soar to number one. Bringing their laddish charm to Manchester, Victoria Warehouse seemed a highly suitable venue for them to flourish and flaunt their acclaim.
Launching their attack with classic Catfish tracks ‘Homesick’ and ‘Kathleen’, there’s no firmer reminder of how they began their reign of the indie-rock scene. The already lively crowd, squashed into the charged warehouse, did not hesitate to bellow each and every word alongside front man Van McCann.
This trend continued even with tracks from their new album, especially as ‘Soundcheck’ launched into its thumping finale with pints being launched forward, drenching a tireless and captivated crowd. ‘Anything’ and ‘Oxygen’ also made an appearance, proving that they hadn’t lost their magic touch since their first album The Balcony. With ‘Hourglass’ the band reigned in the pace, moving towards a more melancholy level as the lights basked the room in a soft light and people were hoisted up onto shoulders for a few minutes of memorable indulgence.
It’s easily noticeable that Catfish have brought a professional polish to their sound and their performance, particularly over the past year, perhaps from their relentless touring. Gone are the inexperienced and conventional lads that first took that musical leap a few years back and on the other side we now bear witness to a band that know the direction they are heading and execute this with such technique and style. They finished off their set with a treat for fans old and new; ‘7’, ‘Cocoon’ and their famous finale track ‘Tyrants’. With the first few twangs of ‘Tyrants’ the sweat-drenched crowd disperse into a hectic pit full of playful shoves and almighty shouts of the lyrics as the night drew to a close on a colossal high.
Catfish and the Bottlemen do well at crafting songs that fascinate a youthful audience. The combination of the relatable lyrics and their hooking melodies is an undeniably faultless potion, and the energy they charge the room with makes it hard for you not to enjoy yourself even when emerged amongst a clammy mass of people. They mask a raw emotion with an audacious and cheeky charm, giving you the best of both worlds with meaningful yet also boisterous music that is faultless live.