Catfish and the Bottlemen -- Brooklyn -- March 10, 2015
Catfish and The Bottlemen made a stop at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory on their first US tour since their album The Balcony, debuted in America. They were accompanied by Texas natives, Wild Party. The SXSW-bound band opened the show. The band's guitarist, Ethan Kaufmann, lost his suitcase at some point during his travels and left his backpack in Buffalo, NY, resulting in him losing the band's synth. Lead singer Lincoln Kreifels said of the resulting set, "We usually sound more 80's, but tonight we're more like post 70s." But, no matter, post 70's Wild Party is better than no Wild Party. Given the fact that the band had only played their set synth-less the night before, they rocked it anyway: just ask the 21 year old girls jamming with their beers raised in the air who begged the band for an encore.
As it is tradition for my best friend Jenni and I to listen to the opening band (if we haven't heard their music already) on the way home from the concert, we did just that. Upon our first listen to "Phantom Pop," Jenni said "this album is the kind of album that makes you feel happy. But not just happy on the surface, just genuinely happy." And, according to Lincoln, that is one of the main goals of the band.
Usually it takes me a little while to be able to see UK bands that I like in concert, so naturally, it was a pleasure to see Catfish and the Bottlemen so soon after the release of their album, "The Balcony," in the US. This was Catfish's first US tour, and so far, it's been a success. This show in particular was the first time that the band has sold out a venue of this size (the Knitting Factory holds about 300 people). To some, this may seem like not that big of a deal, but lead singer Van McCann says that it took them about 7 years to sell out a similar sized venue in the UK.
If you haven't heard about Catfish and the Bottlemen's obsession with Ewan McGreggor -- I can confirm that it is real. There is a cutout of a black and white Ewan McGreggor head on each amp. This sort of thing adds to the charm of the band, I think. The only real complaint that I have about this concert is the fact that the sound system kept crackling during the set, but this is not Catfish's fault, by any means.
All in all, the guitar riffs were flawless, just like the record, and Van McCann sounded incredible, even though he was losing his voice. The crowd only noticed because Van kept apologizing, "I'm sorry, we've been performing everyday and doing live sessions in the mornings. I promise that we're professionals." He mentioned that they haven't even been drinking, that this is just straight up exhaustion. He seems like genuinely the sweetest and most determined guy.
The band played a total of 10 songs, all but one on their recent album. This resulted in the band not playing an encore, even though the audience was begging for one. Seriously guys, the audience would not leave! The lack-of-encore made complete and total sense to me, seeing as the band played about 95% of their album, which is rare in today's music industry. No covers, purely original music. It was refreshing.
At the end of the band's set, and all throughout their performance, Van kept saying thank you to the audience, which showed that he truly appreciated his American fans. We appreciate you too, Van!