Photos by Janine Van Oostrom
Live music is one of the simplest pleasures that one can experience; there is nothing quite like being in a room full of people all dancing and singing along to a band you all mutually love. It has the power to unite an entire group of completely different people under one single roof for a couple of hours, and in the world we live in that’s gotta count for something right?
Catfish and the Bottlemen are one of those bands that bring everything to their live show every single time, between that and the raw dedication of their fans their shows are always some of the best. Their music just translates perfectly into a live show; I mean it like you couldn’t find better songs to get a crowd going. With songs like “Cocoon” “Twice” “Kathleen” and “Business” it’s almost impossible to find someone in the room that isn’t screaming every lyric. Even when they slow the night down a bit and play “Hourglass” the crowd is so loud that basically outsing lead singer Van McCann. From the barrier to the soundboard everyone in the crowd is having the time of their lives.
With all of the being said we have all seen bands with great music that fall flat on their face when it comes to the energy they bring to their live show. And of course Catfish could not be further from those bands. McCann has more energy that a young child; he runs around the stage in an almost chaotic way knocking over any mic stand that dare stand in his way. His energy translates onto the crowd in a infectious manner where it is impossible to not give it your all when watching him. Then you have lead guitarist Johnny Bond’s powerful guitar solos that have basically become the air that Catfish fans breathe; I mean it when I say you can hear the fans singing along to the guitar solos as if they are lyrics. Then you have the drummer Bob Hall; even though he is behind the attention grabbing McCann you can’t help but find your eyes being drawn to him and notice just how talented he is. Then you add in a solo between Hall and bass player Benji Blakeway and you really do find yourself blown away.
Yet the best part about seeing Catfish is that you can just tell you’re watching a band who loves what they are doing. They really do seem to enjoy every second of every show; from the way McCann’s face lights up while the crowd sings “Hourglass” back to him or to the way every ounce of heart and soul is put into every solo on the guitar, drums, and bass. Although they are not much to talking to the crowd they really don’t need to because the connection is made through the songs and long drawn out speeches can take away from that; besides I find that music speaks for itself if you let it.
So on October 14th, 2016 a group of fans from all walks of life packed themselves tightly into the Danforth Music Hall. While lyrics were being screamed at the tops of lungs and sweat was dripping down the backs of the dancing fans people found themselves united under a single band. Catfish and the Bottlemen are a group of small town British boys whose live shows and infectious love songs have quickly skyrocketed them to being one of the biggest names in indie music. They are a group who are honest about their dream of playing in stadiums all over the world and after seeing them live it is obvious it can only be a matter of time until they are.