REVIEW: Catfish and The Bottlemen @ Liverpool Sound City

Llandudno’s indiest export, the mighty Catfish and The Bottlemen, returned from their US tour across the Atlantic to Bramley Moore Dock as Saturday headliners.

The Ride‘, the follow up to their incredibly successful seminal debut album ‘The Balcony‘, got it’s first official outing on the Jack Rocks stage after being released to the world on Friday.

The band came out to The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter‘, which seemed fitting against the illuminated skyline backdrop of the fab five’s home city.

The mass of Catfish merchandise worn by both young and older fans, confirmed that this set was what the majority of the Sound City audience had been waiting for. Frontman Van McCann and band (Bondy, Benji and Bob) introduced themselves before roaring into ‘Homesick’, the first track off ‘The Balcony‘, released in 2014.

The four-piece, who won a BRIT Award back in February, enjoyed the attention of the entire crowd, from those who had seen them before to those who were experiencing their magic for the first time.

The band’s charming frontman welcomed the Sound City crowd before slipping straight into ‘Kathleen’. McCann’s passion and genuine love for his craft is evident in his energetic performances on stage, which are emulated by the crowd.

The set, which is the first time the band have headlined a festival, continued with ‘Soundcheck’, which was the tasty first offering of their second album, the sleeve adorned with a black and white alligator.

McCann continued to thank their crowd after each song, “last time we played this festival it was to 50 people in an attic”; it’s easy to forget that it’s only a couple of years since the band’s major breakthrough, particularly with the anthemic tunes and the volumes of people who sell out their shows.

McCann was bouncing around the stage to the sound of ‘Pacifier’ whilst a young fan in the crowd held a blue smoke flare, a scene suitable for an indie music fan’s postcard.

The punchy riffs of ‘Sidewinder’ maintained the set’s fast pace, with the frontman holding his guitar in the air as the record concluded. ‘Anything’, another from the band’s most recent release, saw McCann knock over his mic whilst thrusting his guitar against the energy reflecting off the crowd.

Business’ followed ‘26’, before the stage was drenched in a red glow for ‘Red’, another new album track which already had the support of the band’s followers, who were singing back the lyrics. The magnificent ‘Fallout’ came before ‘Rango’, during which McCann’s microphone broke, perhaps not being able to keep up with the 20 somethings moves.

McCann hugged the tech supporter before finishing ‘Twice’, seemingly already a favourite from ‘The Ride‘. The raunchy electric guitar was swapped for an acoustic alternative for ‘Hourglass’, a change of pace and a chance for the crowd to take over the vocals.

The band finished with ‘Cocoon’ and ‘Tyrants’ before saying goodbye and once again thanking the Liverpool crowd for their unrelenting support.