BY: CAITLYN JENKINS
I was going to call this a review, but in all honesty, when it comes to this band I am way too biased.
Catfish and the Bottlemen played the Variety Playhouse, a popular venue in an area known as Little Five Points in Atlanta, on October 26. I had seen this band earlier in September of 2015 when they played at the music festival, well-known by many Atlanta locals, called Music Midtown. I fell in love with this band when they released their debut album, The Balcony, and seeing them perform at Music Midtown only made me appreciate them more.
When Catfish and the Bottlemen released their second album, titled The Ride, I was a little hesitant to love it at first, because of how great the first album had been. Eventually, I opened up to it (although it still doesn’t compare to the debut album for me) and as soon as they announced their new tour, I jumped on buying tickets.
The Worn Flints were picked to open up for the band, but in all honesty I got there only towards the end of their set, so I can’t really give an opinion on them. They did seem to get the crowd really enthusiast though, and the lead singer was sporting an “Atlanta vs. Everybody” shirt, which I, as well as almost everyone there, loved.
Catfish and the Bottlemen came on at 9, which I was pretty happy about as a lot of bands like to drag out when they will make their appearance. The lights turned off, the lighted sign with CATB came on, Van McCann (lead singer) walked out, and the crowd screamed. It was very clear that everyone there really appreciated and were truly fans of the band. They opened the concert playing a popular song, Homesick, off of The Balcony. I thought this was very fitting to the band, considering homesickness seems to be the theme in a lot of their music. They played a lot of songs off the old album, which of course, I loved. I’m sure all the other fans appreciated it too, considering every single person in the crowd, even the dad standing next to me, was singing. They performed many other of their classics, including Cocoon and Kathleen, as well as some of my personal favorites: Business, and Fallout. Obviously, they played songs off of their second album too, some of the most renowned being 7, Soundtrack, and Twice.
The energy given off by this band, especially Van, is captivating. It was interesting to see Catfish perform at their own tour vs. a music festival. It felt really personal, not just individually, but to Atlanta as a city. One of the best moments of the show occurred when Van attempted to play the song Hourglass by himself with nothing but an acoustic guitar. As he began to play, his guitar malfunctioned. Instead of the concert just pausing, everyone in the venue sang the song, the whole way through, with Van jumping in on the microphone now and then. It gives such a sense of belonging when everyone in the room is singing along, even without the band performing. It was evident that Van was really appreciative and somewhat surprised that the crowd picked up and finished the song for him, and it was a special moment for everyone.
One thing that surprised me was that towards the end, they didn’t do the “we are going to fake finish the concert, leave, make you beg for an encore, and then come back” thing. They did take some pauses but they pretty much continued to stay on stage until the closing song, Tyrants, which although I was confused by the song choice, ended up being a great conclusion to the show.
It was an amazing opportunity to get to see Catfish and the Bottlemen again, hear my old favorites, open up to the new songs, and see how they have progressed as a band. I will definitely be buying another ticket to see them next time they make their way back to Atlanta.