Ever been to a gig just because there was someone you wanted to be with?
I'd heard of Catfish and the Bottlemen before of course and had enjoyed hearing the songs on the radio, but it was only after hearing the uninspiring indie rock of Sabella that I really became excited about seeing CB+TM. You may have heard them on Radio One before or just heard of the hype. The story goes that a bunch of young welsh lads formed a band and used a Bed and breakfast in rural Wales as a base to launch their career from. The hype brewed and people started going to the B&B just to see the band play. Now the band have sold out gigs on this run, will be playing America soon and putting out a Debut album in September.
They remind me a bit of Stereophonics too, it might seem a little obvious due to the welsh link but Catfish wear black, sound reasonably similar and like Kelly Jones, Van Mcann is a singer who tells stories. He makes a brilliant frontman live, a genuinely cool guy fronting a great band. He can connect with an audience in a way few others can, engaging in banter and even talking selfies with the audience half way through the gig. Overall this was a very short show, which is forgiveable in such a young band, especially when that band has a run of singles such as 'Kathleen' 'Rango' and 'Homesick' to keep the crowd entertained. The little temple room of the institute was totally packed out, and while the crowd was nowhere near as rowdy as the bunch who saw Peace with me there last year, there were still plenty of people jumping about, waving, cheering and giving the place a great atmosphere.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are a strangely unique prospect in today's wave of indie bands. They don't come from any particular scene, and they aren't really up there with your trendy hipster bands. Despite the silly name they might actually be one of the few rock bands who could gain mainstream success without being either super trendy or totally wet.
Being lovely chaps they are, the band did a signing + greeting for all the fans (mostly ladies). I met Van, and he's a very friendly bloke. as it turns out 'Van Mcann' is actually his real name, he was named after Van Morisson and while his mum hated the name, it eventually stuck. I also said that I wasn't there by myself and that the girl I was with had gone off, he said 'maybe she didn't like the tunes'.
He signed my ticket and CD too. I also got this photo.