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AAA Music | 23 April 2024

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Catfish and the Bottlemen – Live @ Plymouth Pavillions

| On 27, Feb 2019

Wednesday February 20th, Plymouth

Catfish and the Bottlemen have gone from playing in car parks to fans filtering out of a Kasabian gig to packing out arenas and festivals since their bombshell of a debut album ‘Balcony’ in 2014… And it doesn’t look like they’re stopping anytime soon, with their February arena tour selling out across the country.

As fans flood into the hall the room is consumed in black and red lighting as Twin Atlantic waltz onto the stage, going on to play their hits ‘Brother and Sister’, ‘Free’ and ‘Heart and Soul’. A huge act to have as a support, setting the bar very high for the main act…

After 30 minutes of having to listen to the ‘in-between’ music at gigs, which normally consists of just hearing a lot of bass, the room is consumed by ‘black and white’ lighting, with white mist seeping out from behind the stage, as the crowd are lifting the roof with screams. The fangirls at the front are nearly being crushed against the barrier from people desperate to get closer to the front – I feel like I’ve jumped back in time and in a modern remake of a Beatles gig. Van McCann (Vocals + Guitar), Benji Blakeway (Bass), Robert Hall (Guitar) and Johnny Bond (Drums) storm onto the stage. McCann, absorbing the crowds energy, jumps onto a speaker and opens his arms to the crowd before breaking into their 2019 hit ‘Longshot’. The crowd already know the lyrics like the song has been out for years. ‘Soundcheck’ follows as McCann throws his mic and guitar around for the crowd -he can’t keep still!

As the band get to ‘Pacifier’ a good 10 metre mosh-pit has now developed in the middle of the room, which comes to life in the chorus and it’s not until ‘Twice’ is played that we witness the extent of the pit, with a bunch of fans hobbling out with bloody noses. We are witnessing a band who can really get a crowd going!

A now sweat-covered Van McCann screams out “I wanna make you my problem” in ‘Fallout’ as random objects are getting thrown up from the crowd. McCann doesn’t even bother to sing the first verse to ‘Homesick’ as the crowd do it for him. Not a lyric out of place. Incredible.

We then hear ‘Rango’ ,‘Outside’ and ‘Hourglass’ before Catfish dive into newly released track ‘Fluctuate’, during which we see a brave man jump up onto someone’s shoulders and fall gracefully into the crowd. Catfish and the Bottlemen have not lost the crowd’s attention once since we heard ‘Longshot’ earlier tonight.

‘7’ is followed by ‘Cocoon’ where McCann allows the crowd to sing the lyric “F*** it if they talk” for him, as he runs back and forth, continuing to throw his mic and guitar around. I’m still impressed by how he can do that and still play it! Blakeway and Bond are in their own worlds at the back of the stage, jamming with each other and then suddenly the heavy indie rock riffs stop – electric guitars are replaced with acoustic and the mood changes from mosh-pit to chilled vibes. Unusual twist, but works so well.

Catfish finish with ‘Tyrant’ and the band relish every moment of the crowd’s energy before putting their instruments on the floor and shouting “pleasure as always, thank you so much, really appreciate it”. No encore needed, Catfish and the Bottlemen had the crowd in their hands. Would I see Catfish and the Bottlemen again? Yes.

Abbie Barton