Tuesday 15th November 2016, a date that will be forever in the hearts of 12,500 Catfish and The Bottlemen fans, who were lucky enough to get their hands on a ticket for the bands biggest performance to date seeing Van, Bondy, Benji and Bob deliver a majestic set.
After being a fan since just before their debut album The Balcony was released in 2014, being a part of this huge step in their journey as band was a huge blessing. The album set the standards high from the get go, yet after seeing them in Margate in May and then the release of their second album The Ride; the lads have done the impossible, smashed all expectations time and time again. They are renowned for their energy and passion on stage which leads to all the fans being mesmerised by their aura. Tuesday’s crowd was no different, the atmosphere was insane throughout with constant dancing, moshing, inflatable Alligators flying and every single person singing their hearts out in unison with Van’s intoxicating lyrics. The crowd came together to create the feeling that in that moment we were infinite; with fans on each others shoulders and strangers connected creating memories that will last an age. The band with their working class background combined with the love they hold for their music is inspiring the next generation to do what they love, no matter of their past.
The band released their second album The Ride in May which reached #1 in the Official Album Chart, this was a superb follow up from the near-perfect debut. The Ride, provided fans with even more songs made for the arenas whilst building on the roots which first existed in The Balcony. The lads have been non-stop touring and recording since the release of The Balcony, providing the fans with everything they could ever ask for. Despite performing at arenas being a long term goal for the band since day 1, it was a huge challenge, especially after selling Wembley Arena out in a matter of minutes. It was simply euphoric. As a band who have become so big in no time at all, they remain a modest band and enjoy themselves just as much as the crowd do. The support for the night were Canadian band, July Talk. This band simply got the crowd going. They had such an intense stage presence stemming from the frontmen, Leah and Peter, it had elements of heavy rock and were really engaged with the crowd. I would recommend them if you are into heavy alt-rock.
The setlist had been put together with such thought, it had intertwined the old with the new and worked so well. The entire set was rollercoaster, with the band hitting the ground running and then slowing things down before slamming back into the fast paced anthems with the bass resonating around the arena. For me, the best tracks of the night were Fallout (in which I was on a strangers shoulders with my eyes closed, arms up and singing my heart out), Tyrants (the finale with the traditional circle mosh pit forming, waiting for the drop), Anything, Oxygen, 26 and Outside. Cocoon, Pacifier and Postpone were also outstanding. They opened with a stripped back version of The Beatles, Helter Skelter, with the lights flashing in unison with Paul McCartney’s raw vocals. Followed by Homesick, Kathleen and Soundcheck. One of the best things about the set was the transfer from Heathrow to Business, which just showed how much the band have spent on their setlist, it worked perfectly. However, my favourite part of the night was Van’s acoustic solo, Hourglass. Similar to the night in Margate, this was a magical experience with Van taking breaks throughout to allow fans to sing. The atmosphere during this song was out of this world, with 12,500 fans singing back the words with smartphone torches shining all around the stadium. Its simply too beautiful to put into words.
Tuesday was an unforgettable landmark for Catfish and The Bottlemen, as a just a few years ago they were the ones performing outside venues, such as Wembley Arena, trying to make a name for themselves and now they are selling them out. In my eyes, one of the best features of the band is the fact that throughout this tour Van has picked up demos which have been thrown onto the stage by aspiring bands. This shows how in touch they are with their fans and how willing they are to help those who are in positions they were in not so long ago. This gig excelled way above the standard they set in May; a band who keep on giving, with a reputation which keeps growing and perform with such intensity, passion and have such a raucous nature. They are this generations Oasis and The Stone Roses, continuing the legacy of normal people creating music that helps bring individuals together to have the time of their lives. Which, to me is the real meaning of music.
Gig Rating: ★★★★★
Listen to the full setlist below: