So I went to see one of my favourite bands again, Catfish and the Bottlemen at Manchester, Castlefield Bowl. This was my sixth time seeing them and throughout the year there had been a massive hype about their performance at this particular location. Unfortunately but not surprisingly due to the vast amount of attention they’ve recently been receiving, I didn’t manage to get tickets on the general sale. However, I sold an arm and a leg by buying them from stubhub (ergh) and set off to see them around lunchtime on the friday.
Let’s just say that my money wasn’t wasted. Not one bit.
Photographed by myself
Vant are a British 4 piece indie-rock band who have had an extremely successful past few years and performed at festivals such as Reading & Leeds, Secret Garden Party and Dot to Dot as well as having made appearances with Royal Blood. Incredibly impressive stuff from a band formed in 2014 and signed just last year.
Vant opened their vivacious set with and immediately had the audience going. I had heard lots about them so prior to this gig, I listened to all of their released material and I have to say, I didn’t immediately take to it but after hearing them live, I completely got it. The sheer passion and energy that was displayed during their performance was extremely admirable and easily matched their talent as individual musicians making their set thoroughly entertaining.
Photographed by myself
As you probably know, it’s pretty clear that Broken Hands are one of Van’s favourite bands at the moment so I was incredibly excited to see exactly what it was about them that made him so infatuated. A few days before the gig I decided to listen to a few of their songs so I wouldn’t be completely clueless for when they played their set. Similar to Vant, I have to admit that I didn’t take to their sound initially but after a few listens I became to realise that I had been completely missing their complexity and unconventionality that they had to offer.
Broken Hands entered the stage with the lead guitarist wearing a metallic silver full length coat and the lead vocalist wearing what I’m sure was a proper lab coat. From the moment they began playing, I was completely and utterly captivated. The stage presence that they held was second to none and let me tell you now, this is only the beginning for them. From start to finish they had me in the palm of their hand.
Broken Hands, as an entire band hold a peculiar air of madness. Their lead vocalist, Dale, reminded me so much of a young Ozzy Osbourne. From the way he moved around the stage to the little dances and head movements, even his appearance and style in general very much reflected Sabbath and this idea was further reinforced by the constant look of insanity in his eyes. This is not intended as a criticism, it’s something that I greatly admired about them and is what set them apart from the other support acts as it presented the audience with a vocalist who appeared so intensely involved in the music that they appeared in some instances to not be completely present.
Photographed by myself
Little comets are by far one of my favourite modern indie rock bands so when Catfish announced them as their main support act, I was over the moon. I’d seen Little Comets twice before Friday. Once at Party in the Park quite literally 5 years ago and then the second time earlier this year in Feb at The Wardrobe, Leeds. Their performances had been absolutely stunning so words can’t justify the excitement that I was feeling to see them support another of my favourite bands.
Opening with ‘My Boy William’ and closing with ‘Dancing Song’, Little Comets didn’t fail to impress me. The thing that I love most about Little Comets is the grittiness of the lyrics which are accompanied by complex and soulful harmonies which run throughout the majority of pretty much every song they’ve written and they were able to perfectly communicate this to the audience. They even played one of my absolute favourite songs of theirs called ‘The blur the line and the thickest of onions’ which they smashed and left the hair on the back of my neck standing on end.
The only thing that I would like to point out is that the crowd was slightly disappointing. I’m still unsure as to why it was quite dead. Perhaps it was just purely due to unfamiliarity of the band or maybe because little comets played far slower songs than I had expected. Nevertheless, they were incredible.
Catfish and the Bottlemen
Finally, the lids…
As you may already know, overall I am not the biggest fan of ‘The Ride’ so in a way, with this being the first time I see them live since the release of the new album, it was almost confirmation for me. But rather than it confirming that ‘The Ride’ is ‘average’ or anything of the sort, instead it confirmed that the fault that I personally find with their album is in fact its production. I’m honestly not exaggerating when I say that literally every song off The Ride sounded 100x better live. I mean, part of me already knew this was true having had the pleasure of hearing some of the singles played prior to its release but hearing 5 new songs live, comforted me.
(You can read my review of The Ride here- livemusicwhatthekidswant.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/catfish-and-the-bottlementhe-ride-review-270516/)
Anyway, focussing on this specific performance, they absolutely nailed it. Again.
As I have mentioned previously, I have now seen Catfish 6 times and there is a reason I’ve seen them so many times and paid as much as I have. They are just stunning. If you are ever after a band that sounds just as good, if not better than their studio recordings, Catb are the band for you.
Opening with ‘Homesick’ and finishing with ‘Tyrants’, Catfish performed every song from debut album, The Balcony, whilst also weaving in 5 others from The Ride and smashed every single one. Recently, I think it’s fair to say that Catfish’s fan base has vastly expanded which has both its benefits and it’s downfalls but who can blame them. They are so so close from achieving exactly what they set out to do in the first place. To be as big as they possibly can. Of course, I’ll always be in the background slightly disheartened by the fact that I feel like I’m losing certain levels of intimacy at their gigs and in some ways appreciation but who can complain. They 100% deserve it and I can’t wait to see what the near future holds for them.