Catfish & The Bottlemen
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Catfish & The Bottlemen

| INDIE

| INDIE
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CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN is a high-energy four-piece who deliver live and have proven to be solid recording artists. We meet them in Manchester’s Zoo and are immediately impressed by their politeness and charm. They ooze a confidence and sex appeal that has been much talked about, with lead singer Van McCann carrying a natural charisma rarely seen. They know what they want and they’re planning on getting it.
We have a good chat with Van (yes, named after Van Morrison) who talks with passion about his love of music and his hopes for the band. He’s a massive advocate of ‘feeling’ the music which could explain the depth and rawness of their songs and lyrics. We then pop outside for our photographer SINEAD MARIE to shoot some memorable portraits of Van, Billy, Benji and Bob.


We’re excited to see these guys live, and they’ve gathered a good crowd. As the tight four-piece take to the stage with gusto, more Dot2Dot festival goers leave their comfy table seats to check out who is making it impossible for them to zone out.
The band are at home on stage and, having just got off the ferry from Ireland, seem relieved to be in Manchester. They’ve had a bit of a rough time of it so far, as Van tells us how somebody nicked their number plate, broke it in half and left it on the windscreen – nice. He’s also got a sore throat, apologizing to the crowds for being a bit hoarse, but he sounds alright to us – he has a natural rasp and growl in his voice, making the vocals more defined and the songs more intense.

As we get into the third track, the stage lights are final properly turned on (they’ve been pretty much in the dark until this point) and the band and fans (and photographers) are grateful to see Catfish in their full glory. Serious hairshaking ensues and it’s a great gig and atmosphere all round.
This band are fresh and edgy, and there’s a sincere and passionate brilliance in their sound that is rarely heard these days. We predict that they will continue to produce standout tracks and performances, and we can’t wait to see what happens next. Britain – are you ready to embrace Catfish and the Bottlemen? - Shatter Japan


It’s a truth universally acknowledged that everyone should enjoy blues and rock ‘n’ roll at least once in their lives. Or maybe not, but it should be! That being said, tonight’s audio treat is very much straddling these two camps. Delicious. Warming us up with his sultry bluesy tones is Tom Fender, the man with the undeniable charm and edible voice. Fender has us lusting for his vocal warmth in his bittersweet arrangements, before we are connected with headliners, Catfish and the Bottlemen.

With a name that is connected umbilically to lead singer Van’s formative years, almost literally (there is a sperm emblazoned on their band t-shirts at the merch stand), you can see an unutterable dedication to their cause. And what is that? To bring you unforgettable live music that is fraught with tension, humour and a touch of angst.

This being the celebration of their signing a record deal that day, the set is shorter than we would hope, but nevertheless punchy. Reminiscent of BRMC, dressed all in black, the gang of four are stood intimately close on the small stage. This only amplifies the big sound and movements they throw at you. Van’s impressive range make songs like single ‘Sidewinder’ an absolute joy, whilst technically engaging and raucous drums from Mr Bob Hall keep you on your toes.

Taking full advantage of the top end set up on Van’s mic, the vintage quality of his vocals puts you in mind of Alex Turner in Arctic Monkeys grungy prime, whilst lyrics “I want to endorse you, want you to exhaust me” hint at a bantering glint in their musical eye. Setting guitarist Billy up as the ‘eye candy’, perhaps an in-joke for the lads, Van draws our eye with the line “check out his beard ladies!”

Banter is second nature to these guys, obvious in the way they interact with each other. Bassist Benji and Van sharing a private joke whilst they shred their shit, instrumental style on stage proffers their style ever so effortlessly. Tight to the core, “like a nun” as Van says after the gig, but out for a good time, enjoying what they do. Each of them are constantly bringing the energy higher and higher, until there is helium in the air. Their ability to set up slow but hit 60mph before you even blink is stunning, ‘Homesick’ notably creating this balance between tentative strings and base swagger in circles, keeping it fresh with arrangements that hit you fast and resonate within.

Winding us down to the final track, which involved nothing but amping up, the harmonies and backing vocals, mesmerising us with Bob’s stellar beats and striding fills, a marvelous half time piece and epic fingerwork from Benji are overwhelming. With a short thanks to the crowd, and a promise to meet in the bar downstairs for a drink, we are left reeling, and ready for another pint! The awesome foursome appear downstairs and make merry with friends, fans, even their lawyer who is along for the ride, and you know they are the real deal. Cool, unassuming and bloody talented. A real gem of a package, here to stay for sure. - Bearded Magazine


Discography

Homesick/Pacifier 7" and download - Communion Records - released 17/6/2013

Photos

Bio

Llandudno 4 piece Catfish And The Bottlemen will release their debut single ‘Homesick’ through Communion Records on June 17, 2013. Working with producer and Communion co-founder Ian Grimble (Daughter, British Sea Power, Red Hot Chili Peppers) at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Wales, ‘Homesick’ is the first offering from what is proving to be a hugely productive session. The track has already picked up radio plays from Steve Lamacq on 6Music and Zane Lowe on Radio 1, who tipped the single as his ‘Next Hype’ track.

Catfish And The Bottlemen signed to Communion Records (Ben Howard, Michael Kiwanuka, Deap Valley, Half Moon Run) this Spring, following a furious 18 month period which saw them play over 100 live shows both in the UK and abroad. Having honed their incredibly tight live set- which invariably sees frontman Van McCann climbing the walls and playing guitar as though his life depended on it- playing clubnights for Carl Barat and 6Music’s Chris Hawkins & persuading the likes of The Vaccines to attend their gigs, 2013 sees the band embarking on a headline UK tour- including London Barfly on June 3- alongside summer festival appearances at Dot to Dot, The Great Escape and Tramlines.

Catfish And The Bottlemen are Van McCann (vocals & guitar), Billy Billy (lead guitar), Benji Blakeway (bass) and Bob Hall (drums).