Hailing from Llandudno, Whales (good luck pronouncing that,) four piece indie rock crew Catfish and the Bottlemen
have been relentlessly rising in popularity. The show I attended was sold out, and the audience was comprised of primarily superfans of varying ages. This is a case where people's enthusiasm is well warranted, however, because these guys are ridiculously polished. John Kennedy nailed it when he said that they're "stadium ready," so you can imagine how dope it was to catch them front row at the 300 capacity Knitting Factory.
Texas indie rockers Wildparty
opened up the show (they're on the spring tour with Catfish,) providing a cool, energetic ice-breaker. They blasted listeners with saccharine pop-rock capers like "Chasin' Honey" and "Lo-Fi Children," pumping everyone up and setting the mood for the main event.
Lead sing Van McCann and the Bottlemen have an anti-indie aesthetic. Think all black everything, leather, some plaid, obligatory skinny jeans and those Italian boots that Austin Powers wears. They're utterly unapologetic about their lack of hipster bullshit and it's refreshing, albeit nostalgic, reminiscent of brit-rock's golden years.
Their live performance was poetry in motion. Opening with "Rango" and burning through hits like "Sidewinder" and "Business," C and the B-men rocked like they were twenty year veterans. Van apologized at one point for alleged hoarseness in his voice due to exhaustion, but no one in the audience agreed, responding with fervent applause. There was off-the-cuff, entrancing instrumental jamming ending in massive swells, athletic guitar work and lots of hair - Van introduced drummer Bob Hall as Sideshow Bob. It was just so goddamn rock and roll.
They impressed with "Kathleen" and "Homesick" back to back, and closed with an extended version of "Cocoon," after which it seemed like Van was about to destroy Bob's drum set with his guitar. Unfortunately, there was no such sacrificial instrument offering to the pagan gods, but the show was amazing (and probably safer,) without it. Enjoy the pics, and check out Baeble's exclusive concert capture with this incredible band below.
Catfish and the Bottlemen