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Review: Catfish & The Bottlemen bring ‘weekend vibes’ to Schubas Tavern

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(Alyssa Girdwain / The DePaulia)

(Alyssa Girdwain / The DePaulia)

Welsh rockers Catfish & the Bottlemen added some weekend vibes to a chilly Monday night Oct. 6 at Schubas Tavern.

Catfish & the Bottlemen, sporting wild manes and grungy black threads, took the stage to Outkast’s “Roses.” For a Monday night show, the room was filled, much to the band’s apparent surprise. Opening with “Rango,” they quickly established their guitar-driven 2000s throwback Brit garage rock sound.

After gaining leverage in the UK with endorsements from expert tastemaker Zane Lowe and spots on the bills of major festivals, it has been a year in the making for the band. Their debut album, “The Balcony,” climbed to the top 10 on the UK charts, and is set for release stateside in 2015 through Communion/Island Records. However the release date of the record didn’t matter much to the crowd up front—they told lead singer and guitarist Van McCann they were already listening to it. He replied that he could care less about where the music comes from, as long as people are listening to it.

(Alyssa Girdwain / The DePaulia)

(Alyssa Girdwain / The DePaulia)

While the four piece may have smaller crowds in the states, their energy makes up for it. The band’s appreciation for their supporters is clear, saying the positivity of the US crowds is “refreshing.”

Despite being a young band, Catfish & the Bottlemen play with a confident conviction and a little grit. Banging out punchy singles and a few new album tracks, the brash lyrics and rowdy youthful themes of being quite literally drunk in love, were dialed down a bit during “Homesick,” and then cranked back up with fan-favorite “Kathleen.” Under a cloak of red lights, the performance of “Kathleen” was like a recreation of the music video.

The quick eight-song set meant the show was nearly half music, half banter. The intimacy of Schubas allowed McCann to have one-on-one conversations, asked people their names, and brought a girl up on stage to take a quick picture with the band, stagehand included. The obvious conversation starter was the band’s drum kit with a picture of Scottish actor Ewan McGregor’s smiling face and their unlikely friendship. Storytime continued with the origin of McCann and the band name, which stemmed from being a test-tube baby — which he sings about on the album — and his first music memory of seeing a busker, or street performer, in Australia called Catfish & the Bottlemen.

(Alyssa Girdwain / The DePaulia)

(Alyssa Girdwain / The DePaulia)

As a final note, Van hung his guitar off of the projection screen on stage, lowering it down. So it wasn’t the most rock-and-roll moment of the night (neither was the band’s group hug mid-song, or the incorporation of their stagehand and tour bestie Larry), but McCann’s efforts are genuine. The crowd not only got some good jams, but also left with a semblance of a relationship with McCann.

The buzz on this band is promising, and they may be on a path to being well-known in a similar vein as The 1975. A marker of oncoming success is the presence of fangirls, which Catfish & the Bottlemen are building, one front-row teen and Snapchat at a time.

1 Comment

One Response to “Review: Catfish & The Bottlemen bring ‘weekend vibes’ to Schubas Tavern”

  1. Julie on October 8th, 2014 6:08 pm

    So looking forward to seeing them in LA. Do you have the full setlist? Was wondering if they did any of the pre-Balcony material (Asa, Collide, Bite down Salvador)?

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Review: Catfish & The Bottlemen bring ‘weekend vibes’ to Schubas Tavern