Live Review: Catfish and the Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Terri Prior makes her debut by checking out Welsh indie band Catfish and the Bottlemen at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory:

Fresh from the success of their breakthrough debut album ‘The Balcony’ these four lads from the other side of the pond are over here supporting indie legends, the Kooks, on their forthcoming tour with a few breakaway gigs.

The band bring that essence of romantic indie pop that has been on the back burner of our airwaves in recent years. Monday night’s gig saw them rock out in a down-to-earth and charismatic way. With their skinny jeans, striped t-shirts and bold hairstyles glistening with sweat, they belted out the likes of Cocoon and Pacifier early in the set, building up the crowd ante and atmosphere.

CatfishFrontman Van McCann has that onstage presence you rarely see in an act breaking on to the scene – holding the crowd in an open dialect throughout, you felt more as if you were partying with your buddies then just awkwardly starring at a band you’d paid to see. Named after the legend that is Van Morrison, McCann is a born frontman.

Delivering a raw and dynamic sound similar to the likes of the Pigeon Detectives with a hint of Razorlight thrown in to the mix, these boys have been taking note from their tour buddies The Kooks in putting on a show for their fans. That being said, it hasn’t come to them on a plate. In a recent article with The Independent the band spoke about their struggles in the past to gather the support from the likes of the NME, who at times had choice words when reviewing their music. Luckily for us, in true indie style, these guys did not sell-out and stayed true to what they believed, making the music they loved. It is this passion that echoed through at the OAF, making you feel like you were on that journey with them.

Oxford Art Factory itself is a really pleasing venue that delivers the exact atmosphere you want as soon as you walk in. The acoustics bounced around perfectly and delivered that deep earthy sound that complimented this band.

catfishMy only teeny issue with the gig was that the band lacked that mega anthem to finish off the evening – that last high to get the crowd pumped and riding a wave as they spill out of the venue, into the night. The end just fizzled to an almost abrupt halt and – with the last strum and a goodbye – the lads were gone. A quick ‘thanks again for coming’ and no encore, it lacked a certain ‘je ne sais pas’ that most indie gigs are renowned for.

As amazing as this band and this gig was I cannot help but feel that we have not seen the best of what they can deliver just yet – which excites us here at Something You Said. There is definitely the potential for an enormous indie anthem or two to come and with rumours of a second album already penned, watch this space!

Terri Prior


Words and pictures by Terri Prior.