After 2010’s The Balcony and this year’s The Ride, Catfish and the Bottlemen have themselves a reputation for being festival specialists. Whilst The Ride was critically panned by the likes of the Guardian, everyone else absolutely lapped it up. Catfish aren’t renowned for doing anything new but rather instead doing what they know, and doing it well; it was best summed up in one review as ‘Catfish don’t aim to reinvent the wheel, they show how well it rolls’. With this in mind that’s exactly what they’ve done at Times Square; they stuck to their hooks and their melodies and they had the crowd in the palm of their hands.
The afternoon starts off shining sun, perfect for Them Things and Little Comets who both went down well with the crowd. Little Comets showed glimpses of hope for reaching the point of Catfish are at, in the future but didn’t attempt to make their performance any bigger than they would have in an academy, perhaps an oversight. By the time nine rolled by rain had been pattering for half an hour but no one cared.
McCann and co. walk out not a second early to an idyllic setting; five thousand fans squished between a museum and an office block yet happy nonetheless in the last glimpses of the setting sun on Newcastle. You may have been mistaken to think this was like any other gig for the lads until Bondy glanced up half way through Homesick, grinning, his home show having been nearly 18 months coming. Homesick set a precedent for what Catfish could expect, if they thought the 8,000 at Castlefield Bowl were rowdy they were in for a shock.
Catfish ran through all songs off The Balcony and half of The Ride, matching them together seamlessly. McCann swaggering round like the rockstar he’s grown to be whilst Bondy appeared to be turning out blinding riffs like tricks for the home crowd. When the time for Hourglass rolled by the crowd wrapped arms round one another in a way that could have only been provoked by Hourglass and by the bridge no one could hear Van because everyone else in the crowd was louder. Admittedly it would’ve been nice to hear Heathrow here too but perhaps it’ll be an addition whilst they’re touring The Ride rather than during these one off shows.
There were a couple of golden oldies like Rango that went down a treat getting a better response than expected with girls on shoulders and lads helicoptering their tops. Business was particularly lairy too, even registering a surprised look from Bob (though this was the only time he looked up the entire gig, highly dedicated). Van was brave enough to ask “do you have life left in ya Newcastle?” and of course they did. I’ve been to a fair few gigs and its not often I’ve seen a crowd give so much energy all the way through the set. Even the usually poker faced Benji appeared impressed.
Outside was a nice touch, the chorus having a Strokes-ish open arms feeling about it. 7 also had a very positive reaction and I can imagine that with albums to come it’ll remain on the setlist along with Anything (my personal favourite of the night). The night began to come to a close with Cocoon, with this came more flares than the Stone Roses though not quite as many as the Courteeners. It’s safe to say everyone went for it, Catfish included.
Tyrants, as per usual, marked the end of the set and what a performance it was. Bondy was just ripping up the stage whilst Bob actually looked ready to burst out of his shirt. It was momentus and glorious for all involved, including Van’s self-gratuitous rampage across the stage with both mic stand and guitar in hand. As Tyrants wrapped up they left with no gimmicks to be had, just a simple wave and it was over.
Overall Catfish did themselves proud and made the show worth an 18 month wait. It was nice to see that they’re giving The Balcony the send off it deserves before bringing in more of The Ride no doubt during the winter tour. They’ll be keeping themselves occupied with a few US festivals to continue the send off for The Balcony before their November winter tour. Roll on Victoria Warehouse I say, and to catch them elsewhere on the Winter tour check here.