Catfish and the Bottlemen love Australia. They just can’t get enough of the place. After a cancelled tour last year, they’ve come back bigger and better to make it up to all their adoring fans in this great southern land. Bear Family’s first taste of Catfish-pie was in in early 2015 when they supported fellow UK darlings The Kooks, and we’ve loved the pants of them ever since.
One of our resident photo wizards Annette Geneva rocked up to Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion to not only capture the magic on film, but also to educate herself. Knowledge is power.
Here’s 10 things she done learned at Catfish and the Bottlemen.
1.The Younguns’ have staying power
All ages concerts start early and are normally supported by very young bands, so 6:30 pm doors for Hordern Pavilion was no surprise. This show was highly anticipated and punters had been lining up religiously since the early morning to catch a glimpse of Van McCann and his Bottlemen. From what I hear, the wait paid off in the afternoon, with the the band generously signing tickets and other merch through the backstage gates.
2. The Bottlemen have BALLS
A recently established UK rock band putting on an all-ages show at a 5000+ capacity venue, competing with other Splendour in The Grass sideshows is brave! But also smart, because CATB are so relevant right now with teenagers and young adults that you betcha, it SOLD OUT! The crowd mostly consisted of eager parents and kids, but you could spot the odd English gentleman or two.
3. The Bottlemen are men of few words
After the blistering success of The Balcony and the equally acclaimed The Ride, the band who are known for their one-word-or-less track naming method didn’t break their rule, with a perfect set-list. It was a generous mix of tracks from both albums. Kicking off with Homesick on a smokey, red lit stage, the roaring guitars mixed with teenage girl screams, dissolved only by the time Van McCann belted the chorus to Kathleen.
4. CATB are this generations’ Indie Saviours.
By the time the band got to such hits as Anything and Twice, it made perfect sense as to why CATB have sky-rocketed to success. Not only are they a rock-solid, swaggering and talented indie-rock band, to this overjoyed crowd of underage punters they are exactly what The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys were to me in 2005. With guitar-rock on the decline in recent years, it’s refreshing to have electronic music completely absent at a show of this calibre.
5. Any friend of Catfish is a friend of mine
The venue was so packed the air tasted like sweat and soda. You could spot a few balloons and couple of inflatable crocodiles floating over the crowd. Everyone was having so much fun – for a moment I felt like I was at the best party ever and everyone here was immediately a friend by association. McCann kept thanking everyone for coming and I think he was genuinely stoked with the turnout and response from the crowd.
6.Catfish is for the lovers
Two guitars, drums and bass, both melodic and grungy – CATB are a simple rock band who sing about love, commitment, break up and mistakes. They might take a more simplistic approach to songwriting than their chart-topping counterparts, but at least they keep the romance alive. Boys take their girlfriends to CATB. This is music you fall in love to, music to spend hours in solitude in your bedroom and lose your virginity to. From mid-set to the end of the show (which was to be completely honest, way too short) – it was basically a sing-along party. Within the first chords of 7, about 20 people in the crowd were sitting on other fans’ shoulders. It was highly entertaining to watch.
7. What do CATB do in the dark?
One thing I found odd was full “lights off” for a couple of minutes in between songs. I couldn’t stop wondering if it was technical difficulties or just planned breaks for the band.
8. No encore left fans wanting more
When Catfish and the Bottlemen played their last song Tyrants, which is coincidentally also last on The Ride, I couldn’t help but notice the visible disappointment when it became apparent it was really the end. A solid closing track, but absolutely everyone was hooked and wanted more.
9. Mums and Dads love Catfish and the Bottlemen shows
Personally, I like early shows. Especially on a Sunday night; but something felt fishy about being home by 10pm. Apart from that, the show was the first all-ages show I really enjoyed, it wasn’t aggressive like any of my latest gig-going experiences. Everyone seemed to be stoked to be there and to be a part of this big CATB end of the week party.
10. CATB have established themselves as one of the world’s best live bands
If you have never seen Catfish & The Bottlemen live, I highly recommend you go and check them out. They won’t disappoint. The concert was loud,bright and sexy, embroidered with mass sing-alongs and electrifying drums. They really have set themselves a standard of being one of the world’s best live rock bands.