Welsh Rock band Catfish and the Bottlemen took to the stage in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre on the 16th of May 2016. This was the band’s second gig in Ireland following much anticipation after their show in Dublin’s The Academy had sold out in early 2015.
The show was opened by British Indie Rock band, The Crookes. Although the group almost immediately gave off an Arctic Monkeys vibe, their set had weaknesses. One weakness was the almost inaudible lyrics being sang by lead vocalist George Waite. A second weakness was the consistently similar sounding melodies of each of their tracks. As someone who is always on the look out for new groups, soloists, or duos alike to listen to or report on, this was a disappointment. However, the group’s stage presence was strong and deserves to be commended.
Catfish and the Bottlemen’s set opened with The Beatles’ track ‘Helter Skelter’, being played over the speakers around the theatre as a build up to the performance that was about to occur.
The group opened with their track ‘Homesick’, a personal favourite. Front man Van McCann’s profound energy was immediately exhibited.
This was then followed by their popular single ‘Kathleen’ and one of their two recently released singles, ‘Soundcheck’. The intensity of the guitar solo and strong presence of drums in this track merely heightened the crowd’s already supreme energy levels.
One stand out moment of the show was McCann catching a letter thrown toward the stage, a regular occurrence at gigs, and although McCann spoke through the remaining three members, Johnny Bond, Benjamin Blakeway and Robert Hall continuing to play, the crowd still sang every single word.
A second stand out moment was McCann’s solo performance of their charming track ‘Hourglass’. He simply stood onstage, clutching an acoustic guitar, sang every lyric with a soulful feeling and in turn, captured the attention and hearts of the entire theatre.
Although Catfish and the Bottlemen have only been performing for a relatively short amount of time, they are a stand-out live act. I have been to countless live performances and I have never seen a group draw as much energy between their performance and the crowd themselves.
Catfish and The Bottlemen’s second studio album, ‘The Ride’ is out May 27th 2016