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Online Student Newspaper of John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School


Catfish and the Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen



After relentlessly hearing about some band selling out almost entire tours in the UK, you know I was quick to buy their album when I stumbled upon the last one in the store. Little did I know, three months later, I would be at their concert singing along to every single one of their songs. Seven years as a band and they are finally starting to take off. Recently playing at some of the biggest festivals in the UK, such as Leeds, Reading, and Glastonbury, to full crowds, you can see just how excited people are getting about their music and I am no exception.  

Let me tell you, it did not take long for me to become a fan of "Catfish and the Bottlemen". Just to give you an idea,  I bought tickets to their concert before I even finished listening to their album. What really sold me on this band is that their music left me feeling nostalgic for the days spent rummaging through my uncle’s record collection, introducing me to English bands now nearly forgotten by new generations, yet still deeply loved by those who grew up with them. You can hear the influences of distinguished rock bands such as Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, and The Strokes, in their songs. Their debut album, The Balcony, reached the top 10 in the U.K. and is gaining popularity in the U.S. through their live performances.

It was the first show of the tour and what better place to start than right here in Philly. The boys arrived a couple of days before the concert, which made the wait all the more agonizing knowing that they were wandering around the city while I was stuck in class.  Eventually, the night of the show finally came and I couldn’t have been more excited. They were performing at the TLA, on South Street, which amazingly offers fast lane passes that lets you in earlier than everyone else. Of course, we got them and ended up being in the third row! And for my fellow short people, that meant I could actually see without breaking my neck in the process.

First came the opening act, a band called Jamie N Commons, who has worked alongside X Ambassadors. Their music is a mix of blues and rock that blends together perfectly tied with Jamie’s voice. It’s sad to say that most of the time people don’t have as much fun with the opening acts. While the openers are usually great, people just don’t know them enough to really get excited. However, this band had everyone dancing and singing along to songs we had only just heard, compared the hard set faces and stiff sways you normally get during an opener. They really riled up the crowd and set the energy for the rest of the concert. Once their set wrapped up and they left the stage, you could feel the anticipation for Catfish and the Bottlemen. People throughout the venue, were chatting to strangers, making friends, and bonding over a group of four big haired guys from a small town in Wales. There’s nothing more amazing than seeing a band make friends of people who have only just met. Not long after this realization, small talk became replaced by the screams of fans the moment the lights went down.



In the darkness of the venue an acapella version of “Helter Skelter” came on over the speakers. Some people looked around in confusion searching for the band, others aimlessly sang along to the renowned song, but only those who knew just how far this band had come could guess that this short intro was in tribute to the time when they were covering Beatles songs to unimpressed listeners. As they walked on stage just as “Helter Skelterwas ending, I could feel the days spent restlessly in anticipation melt away. They started off the setlist with “Rango” and continued to play every song on their album! Even that wasn’t enough for me. Catfish and the Bottleman has those songs that are almost impossible to stand still to. With every chorus they had entire crowd jumping, the only exception being “Hourglass” which is probably the only slow song they have on the album. I completely lost track of time having so much fun, and by the time we were at the last song I could hardly believe it. Of course, they ended with the same song they’ve been ending on for years “Tyrants” ( which also happens to be my favorite ). Sadly, I couldn’t wait for them after the show, but they came out 2 hours later to take the time to have a conversation and take pictures with all the people who stayed. A lot of people who have met them told me they are some of the nicest guys, even asking fans if they performed okay and making sure everyone had fun.

Catfish and the Bottlemen are making their way to the top. Recently, they’ve even gained recognition from their idol, Ewan Mcgregor (who spent a good amount of time on the band’s kickdrum) as well as Halsey who spent part of her 21st birthday at their show. And although their audience in the U.S. may be smaller, the same couldn't be said for how much their fans here love them. From start to finish, there wasn't a moment where the crowd wasn't singing along with them during the concert, sometimes even loud enough to drown out the mics. It’s easy to see that the people at their concerts have long since been invested in their music. Van Mccann, the lead singer, wants to sell out arenas in the the future saying, “Those will be the days.” but not in the cocky arrogant way you’d think someone who is already doing so well would say. He says it with an admirable determination to be the best at doing what he loves most. And I think I speak for anyone who has ever seen how great they are live, that we’ll be in those stands to support them when they get there.




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Online Student Newspaper


John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School

311 N 19th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19103

(215) 563- 8930




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