Concert Reviews

Catfish and the Bottlemen with The Worn Flints at Rebel

Photos by Janine Van Oostrom

Catfish and the Bottlemen are the type of band that always bring you back for more; no matter how many times you’ve seen them it feels as if they just keep on getting better every time. They set the bar so high and somehow always manage to blow it out of the water. Catfish took to Toronto’s most inconvenient venue, Rebel (or if you’re lead singer Van McCann you may find yourself calling it by its previous name, Sound Academy, all night) on a chilly spring Thursday night. They left no one waiting as they were on the stage at exactly 9:00pm and were done their set well before 10:30pm rolled around. While it may have been a short set they managed to captivate the entire audience from the very second that they stepped on the stage.

Throughout the evening they played a mix of songs from both of their albums including their major hits like Soundcheck, 7, Kathleen, and Cocoon. While the setlist remained largely the same from the last time that Catfish came around into Toronto the show seemed almost entirely different. The band was doing something that in all of my times of seeing them they had never really done before. There added these very elaborate and dramatic instrumentals to the beginning of the majority of their songs. The only way I can describe these instrumentals is kind of like the uphill climb of a roller coaster; you can feel it in your stomach that something great is about to happen as you climb higher and higher anxiously wait for the drop. These intros are probably the single greatest factor that made this show standout so much from all of the other shows that I’ve seen them play.

The reason these instrumentals stood out is because Catfish already have so much of their act perfected to the point where it is excellence is already something you expect to see at their shows. You expect McCann to throw himself wildly across the stage in the middle of a guitar solo. You expect the entire band to sound absolutely flawless with every song. You expect their infectious energy to radiate itself through the crowd and influence every person. You expect the passion that the brand brings with them every time, as if that stage is the only place in the world they want to be. All of that alone is enough to make any show outstanding yet Catfish always manage to take it one step beyond that. Maybe that is why they are currently dominating the airwaves and seem to be moving their way up on just about every festival lineup. They seem to never stop and if their live show indicates anything it is that up is the only place for Catfish to go.

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Long suffering student by day. Music writer by night.