REVIEW: Catfish & The Bottlemen @ Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

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On 9th June, I had the absolute privilege of seeing Catfish & The Bottlemen at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff. The atmosphere and crowd in the venue was electric and although I got separated from my friends halfway through the gig, prompting a last minute search, it was definitely the best night out I’ve had in the last couple of months.

Catfish & The Bottlemen have an extremely dedicated fan-base; this was clear to see when I reached the arena at 4.30pm. With two hours to go until the concert, I found a queue stretching around the block  – many had been waiting patiently since 9AM.

When we entered the arena, we were extremely lucky to get a position near the front (this turned out to be helpful when we needed water later on in Catfish’s set!)

The support came from Catfish’s former touring mates – Little Comets. An English rock/indie band from Newcastle, signed to Dirty Hit Records, although I had listened to some of their music in the past, I did not really count myself as a fan, however their set helped to change my mind. Being a support band is always tricky as not many people know your music. However, Little Comets successfully managed to hype up the crowd, with people dancing and jumping around during their closing song “A Dancing Song” in particular.

After warming up the crowd, stage technicians moved onto the stage to reveal an impressive live setup for Catfish, featuring ranks of stacked amps, and an incredible lightshow. Pretty soon after this, Catfish & The Bottlemen came on led by their powerful frontman Van Mccann. Playing a set lasting for an hour, Van and Co skilfully played songs from both their debut album “The Balcony” and their most recent album “The Ride”. The band’s songs are incredibly easy to dance to and throughout their set, a number of circle pits opened up allowing absolute chaos to develop from within.

A number of highlights from the night include “Fallout” which Van Mccann said was a song for “everyone on shoulders”, allowing at least 20 people to clamber onto their friends shoulders to enjoy the song. By this point in the night, I had lost my friends having been swept far to the right by the crowd but when “Fallout” was played, I managed to see them (both on shoulders).

Another highlight of the night was “Rango”, a fan favourite which had been off the set-list I believe until the night of our gig. This was an incredibly special moment with the majority of the arena singing along-this was the case for most of the night to be honest!

Finally, throughout the gig, the crowd including myself chanted “OH JEREMY CORBYN”. This seemed poignant considering the recent general election occurred just the day before.

Catfish & The Bottlemen are undoubtedly a very special band and I would recommend that anybody who has the chance to see them to go and see the band. Although playing to a sold out arena of 7,500 people, the band played with a small-venue energy appealing to every member of the audience. The atmosphere throughout the night as a consequence was amazing and felt electric to say the least.


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