CATFISH & THE BOTTLEMEN @ THE WINTER GARDENS, MARGATE

10 stars

Tonight was my second time seeing Catfish and The Bottlemen and against all odds, while playing to a sold out crowd in a ridiculously warm venue over 100 years old, they managed to impress me even more than they did last time around.

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Catfish & The Bottlemen – Photo Credit: Avondale Media

After bursting onto the stage in the midst of The Beatles’ Helter Skelter and a pretty impressive light show, Catfish open with classics Homesick and Kathleen, before the first track released from their new album, Soundcheck. To say this got them off to a good start would be an understatement, and judging by the deafening screams from the crowd behind me I wasn’t the only one who thought so. What followed, after a few more crowd pleasers, was Anything, the first unheard track of the evening from their forthcoming second album, The Ride. Anything does not disappoint, with the same infectiously bouncy guitar and the kind of perfect breakdown Catfish fans have come to expect combined with a new sense of maturity and growth that we didn’t even know we wanted to hear from them.

Despite enduring their fair share of technical difficulties in the first half an hour of their set, Catfish and The Bottlemen did not let anything hold them back, apologising to the packed room of fans before sorting themselves out and launching right back into it. As usual, frontman Ryan ‘Van’ McCann is far from lacking in energy, and his happiness is as infectious as the rest of the band are tight. Despite constantly moving around the stage, Catfish and The Bottlemen’s performance was completely faultless from start to finish.

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Catfish & The Bottlemen – Photo Credit: Avondale Media

Hourglass was, yet again, a highlight of their set, with McCann whipping out his acoustic guitar and effortlessly charming the crowd. As well as playing almost every track from their debut album, The Balcony, new songs such as Twice and Red also went down a treat. Despite proving that their long awaited second album, out on May 27th, will be an instant hit, Catfish and The Bottlemen end their set with debut album closer Tyrants (again) that no one is even shocked when the lights come back on and it becomes clear there’s no encore. How could you top an ending like that? Tonight, Catfish and the Bottlemen leave everyone willing the next week away as I go home to pre-order the new album and cross my fingers that another tour follows it very soon. Trust me, you are going to want to do the same. (10/10)

Written by Megan Smith

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