Photos by Katrina Lat
It was a hot sticky Monday, not a particularly thrilling start to the week yet hundreds still packed Lee’s Palace for an evening of sonic adventure with indie rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen.
The Wales based four-piece band has spent lots of time solidifying their status in the music scene. The rigorous touring schedule and dedication has landed them spots at popular festivals such as Reading & Leeds, T in the Park, and Governors Ball. Ultimately their touring paid off when their 2014 debut full-length, The Balcony peaked at the top of the U.K. album charts before being certified Gold later that year.
Their blend of passionate song-writing, retro rock melodies has given the post-punk kids something to rave about. People can’t help but join in on the buzz that Catfish and the Bottlemen have created for themselves which is no surprised their Toronto show sold out moments after they went on sale.
With Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” playing loudly in the background, Catfish and the Bottlemen appeared on stage to an ecstatic audience and quickly placed themselves into their choreographed position. They fully dive into the opening track from their debut, “Homesick” followed by fan-favourite “Kathleen”.
Van McCann (lead singer and guitarist) took a moment to thank everyone for filling Lee’s Palace up as it was the second night of their tour. McCann took his role as frontman seriously as he encourages his audience to let loose (crowd-surfing is always welcomed) and vibe with them as played. “This is for anyone who bought our first album” leading the band to start “Pacifier”.
Catfish and the Bottlemen has become a much stronger unit from the last time I saw them. With the increasing tempo of the guitars and intensifying of the drums, McCann’s vocals bares its soul as he performed classics like “Cocoon”, “Tyrant”, and new songs featured on their second album, The Ride. The band’s energetic, impassioned presentation makes it easy for the audience to get lost in their vibrant undercurrent.
The highlight of all Catfish and the Bottlemen shows is when McCann performs an acoustic version “Hourglass” solo. But this time, McCann was out sung by the crowd who began singing loudly the moment he started strumming his guitar. McCann was so stunned that he stopped singing and watched the crowd in amazement as he continued playing.
From performing in parking lot to sold-out status on all their tours, Catfish and the Bottlemen have come a long way in their career. They’re quickly becoming everyone’s favourite with their unforgettable stage presence which is why I recommended that you check them out when they on October 14 at Danforth Music Hall.