The D.I.Y band from Llandudno, Catfish and the Bottlemen don’t do false moves.

I’ve been following the band’s meteoric rise now for three years and they just keep getting better. The so-called sold out show at Manchester O2 Apollo isn’t quite sold out but that doesn’t matter, because the atmosphere is one of pure joy. Not to mention that this is the second night in the City. Not bad for a band that up until two years ago were touring in a van with band members taking turns to drive. This before Glastonbury, before Letterman…

The crowd that comes to watch the Bottlemen on the second night is hard to pin down. It’s not as male dominated as some gigs and at one point (during 'Homesick') a fifty-year old woman is attempting to duet with anyone who will have her. A staple of any Catfish gig however is people with arms around each other belting out the choruses to ‘Homesick’, ‘Pacifier’ & ‘Kathleen’. Frontman Vann knows how to play the crowd in terms of orchestrating a mass sing-along!

There’s a new song played tonight and it sounds like it could be special. It isn’t introduced but later on I find it’s called ‘7’. It has a bit of stomp & groove to it and shows the influence of Stateside bands like the Strokes and the Killers. I’m happy that it sounds different to the debut album 'The Balcony' and there’s seemingly a new direction on the horizon. The trademark anthemic chorus is still there and I can’t wait to hear a polished, produced version of this track. With a new track appearing the question whirls about the release date of a second album. Diehard fans of the band have, after all, heard these same songs for the last three years. In between constant touring I hope the band are finding time to pen that tricky sophomore album.

The set-list might have looked similar all these years but it is definitely the best I’ve seen the Bottlemen. They sound fantastic (especially the drums and vocals) and the lighting set-up is another level. Vann hasn’t been shy about saying they are aiming for stadiums and you can see that they are slowly but surely going to get there. As always with the lads from Llandudno, it’s a matter of when, not if.


Photographs by Marie Hazelwood
http://mariehazelwood.tumblr.com

















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