Preview: Catfish and The Bottlemen

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It’s not exactly a secret that Catfish and The Bottlemen are no strangers to big crowds…

With a smattering of forthcoming festival headline slots until their collective belt, the band is set to make their live return this summer, continuing their world tour in support of their second album, The Ride, which includes a date at Cardiff Castle this Sunday (29th July). The band hit the top spot on the Official Album Chart back in 2016 with The Ride, a headrush of raucous riffs that soundtrack frontman Van McCann’s lines of droll self-deprecation, intertwined with narratives about nights out and lovelorn angst, à la their platinum-selling debut, The Balcony.

With no new music released as of yet, it could be argued that they are still dragging on the coattails of the success of their previous releases, but rightfully so, their music may be unequivocally simpler than their moniker but it is this repeated formula that has built up a sizeable fanbase. Credit where credit’s due, their journey from the margins to the mainstream has seen the four-piece progress from playing the crannies of Clwb Ifor Bach to a fair few thousand at Cardiff Castle in little over four years, which is most certainly a feat in itself.

However, for a band that hasn’t ever dared to set foot outside of a thematic bubble of drunken antics and unrequited relationships, it may easy enough to question the parallels between the success and the simplicity of Catfish and The Bottlemen, why on Earth are they so popular, then? Well, dearest reader, the thing that continues to keep Catfish and The Bottlemen away from the beige platitudes of the now overpopulated, void-like indie rock scene is their innate ability to work up an almost incendiary, limbs flailing, headbanging euphoria each time they hit the stage. A string of staple singles, such as Kathleen, Pacifier and Twice is sure to bring a form of feral intensity to the Castle grounds, despite their lacklustre lyrics, they almost ceaselessly translate the archetypal into the anthemic by creating a live spectacle that their contemporaries cannot match, where crowd surfers are commonplace in a midst of flares and fans that sing along at fever pitch. Prosaic on record but perilous on stage, perhaps that is the blueprint of Catfish and The Bottlemen if you will.

Catfish and The Bottlemen will play Cardiff Castle on Sunday, July 29th 2018. This event is SOLD OUT but tickets may be available from Twickets, a fair fan-to-fan secondary resale site.

Words by Sophie Williams
Twitter @fluorescentsoph
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