Friday night, Catfish and the Bottlemen continued their climb to becoming a stadium rock band stateside. They’ve already conquered the feat back home in the UK. Now it’s onto America, like every great British band before them.
Their stature has grown with each passing tour through LA. Friday night saw the band play their biggest show in the area yet, at the Hollywood Palladium. Though not quite packed to the gills, it was full of excitable fans that have been rocking with them since their debut album The Balcony in 2014. They leaned heavier on the debut album than anything, playing eight songs total from the breakthrough record.
Catfish kicked their set off with one of their new singles “Longshot”, and it’s already clearly a fan favorite. The first single from their upcoming new album The Balance (out Apr. 26 via Capitol), lead singer and heartthrob Van McCann does what he does best — oozes sex appeal (there are lots of “honeys” lyrically) before delivering a gut punch in the chorus.
I’ve been fans of this band for a while, and even got a chance to interview them for another blog years ago. I’ve always appreciated the confidence of McCann and his band mates — they’ve long said they’re trying to be stadium rockers. It’s refreshing in a world where today’s rockstars are a little too humble for my taste. My first concert was Oasis, and I think the genre is missing the kind of cockiness that we used to see.
McCann and his bandmates carry that confidence with them on stage. The bigger the crowd, it doesn’t faze them. They lean into their swagger with ease.
The Balcony cuts were the ones that had the loudest singalongs. “Kathleen” and “Pacifier” got the crowd going early on in the set. The follow-up sophomore record The Ride was a slight letdown personally, but it sounds as though they’re returning to form on this new record. “Sidetrack” was the lone new song they played that hasn’t been put out as a single yet, and it may be my favorite of the new offerings. It’s a bit hazier than most Catfish songs, a bit of a move in a different direction.
“2all” is the latest single from Catfish, and it puts McCann’s longing vocals at the forefront. It’s a bit of a heartbreaker with a simple guitar line. It’s one of those catchy songs where you learn the chorus by the third time around.
Catfish and the Bottlemen knows how to pace a show, and they closed it with the bangers. “Cocoon” and “Tyrants” are arguably their biggest songs from their debut, and it was quite a one-two punch to finish things off. “Tyrants” is such an explosive song that it makes sense that it’s usually the way they finish a show.
Keep an eye out for their new album next month and for them to climb further and further up the festival bills stateside as a result.
Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Tim Aarons