Catfish And The Bottlemen / Twin Atlantic – Leeds Arena – 11/11/19
It’s been an incredible year for music as always and Welsh indie rockers Catfish And The Bottlemen have really reached new heights in 2019. Their third studio album ‘The Balance’ was unleashed upon us in April and since then they have taken the country by storm. We probably speak for everyone around us in Leeds arena when we say we’ve been waiting for this night for quite some time, but before we get stuck in there’s the treat of a rather incredible support act.
As far as support goes if you’re going to only have one warm up act, make sure they can cut it. Catfish certainly had a banker with Scottish rockers Twin Atlantic (9) who benefited leading the night off alone by having a solid 8 song set packed with hits from their back catalogue, and some tasty new tracks for good measure.
‘The Chaser’ is tonight’s opener and Sam McTrusty struts around the stage suited and booted, guitar in hand ready to rock. It’s a solid early turn out for TA who play to an almost full arena, and deservedly so as the guys power through their set with plenty of energy. ‘Hold On’ & ‘Make A Beast Of Myself’ are as always incredible live and have the crowd bouncing along in no time, before ‘Brothers And Sisters’ follows with its huge sing-along chorus.
It may only be an eight-song set, but two of those spots are filled with brand new tracks. The recent ‘Novocaine’ clearly made an impression as there’s a fair amount of voices in the crowd singing it back at them. After hearing it fresh at Leeds Festival earlier in the year, ‘Volcano’ makes another appearance in the set and still sounds as brilliant as it did the first time. We can’t wait for the release of their new album ‘Power’ early next year after what has been released so far, and with a handful of concrete albums to their name already we’re sure they have what it takes to blow up into something huge of the back of this in 2020. The epic ‘No Sleep’ and ‘Heart and Soul’ end things perfectly leaving our mouths watering at the sight of their UK headline tour next March quickly approaching!
Sam and co. are back and they mean business…
One band that certainly has plenty of hype around them is headliners Catfish And The Bottlemen (10). Taking to the stage to The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’ they rock up to screams all around under blood red lights before a blackout of complete darkness. A spotlight beams onto frontman Van McCann as he leans out from the front of the stage and for the next couple of hours we witness a proper indie rock show. Opener ‘Longshot’ does exactly what if does on their latest album and kicks things off with an irresistible chorus everyone can’t help but sing along to at the top of their voices.
Frontman Van McCann’s vocals are impeccable and his stage presence is equally on point as you just can’t take your eyes off him. If he’s not up in the faces of the crowd singing down his microphone, he’s throwing himself and his guitar all over the stage.
It’s been several years since they were playing in front of a crowd you could likely fit into the toilets of this arena, but tonight they play on the monstrous Leeds Arena stage in front of around 13,000 people, and every single one of them is absolutely buzzing to be there.
The stage itself is built to impress with their trademark album cover of a Toucan sat on a can hanging and glowing from either side of the band, while the main screen behind keeps reminding us how incredible the crowd really is as a camera pans out with an aerial view of the mosh pits to the bouncy ‘Kathleen’ and ‘Soundcheck’. Most bands could justify these first three songs being the last three of the night, but Catfish have a 20 song set to power through and not a single one on the list isn’t a banger.
Flying back and forth between albums, for the likes of ‘Pacifier’, ‘Twice’ and ‘Sidetrack’ the set propels into chaos among the fans and band alike as they throw everything into this show. It takes the frontman to pull out his acoustic guitar to halt the moshpits and crowd-surfers for a solo performance of ‘Hourglass’ which he barely has to sing a note for because the entire arena sings every word out creating the most memorable moment of the night.
As the show comes to a close there’s some noticeable absences from the setlist which drives a more than predictable encore. Fan favourite ‘7’ and the explosive ‘Cocoon’ end the night in complete pandemonium.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are becoming one of the biggest indie rock bands around and their live performances alone are worthy of that label. It’s surely only a matter of time before they are headlining festivals and reaching out to those stadium shows they have always dreamed of if they can continue to release albums full of world beating masterpieces.
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Photo Credit: © Danny Peart Photography 2019