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Catfish and the Bottlemen


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Stealing time out from a promotional photo shoot, Van McCann glances out into an unforgiving English North Sea, battling the coastal breeze to light a cigarette. In a few, short weeks and 10,000 miles from here, the singer and songwriter of Catfish and The Bottlemen will look from the stage and see the mid-summer paradise of Tasmania's South Pacific coastline, trading isolation and brooding cloud for the thunder of another jet-set, live performance in searing heat.

The signs weren't there for Catfish and The Bottlemen to be a band of extremes, yet they seem to throw that precise silhouette, almost without intention.

Tumbling into 2019 by headlining festival stages on the other side of the world, McCann (vocals, guitars), Johnny Bond (guitars), Robert 'Bob' Hall (drums) and Benji Blakeway (bass) take a huge gulp of air before their homecoming and the start of another new chapter. Catfish and The Bottlemen's 2019 new album release follows 2014's platinum-certified debut, The Balcony and 2016's gold, number one follow-up, The Ride. Companion to the release of their third album is the anticipation, if not vocal impatience, of their waiting fans and the knowledge within the band that it represents a likely escalation of the successes of the last three years. Three years in which they've seen sales of one million albums and, in 2018 alone, nearly a quarter of a million UK fans experiencing them play live.

Practically of no fixed abode, the band has toured constantly since their formation, now over a decade ago. Hotel rooms, tour buses, airport lounges and live venues are home, with the band's roots seemingly indeterminable.

McCann is extensively quoted saying that his band's isolation in the fast lane of emotive, youthful alternative rock is thanks to their conscious plot to "think inside the box". While typical chaos swirls around an in-demand, arena-filling rock band, that uncharacteristically strategic starting point for the journey remains their pivot. When judged fairly from distance, Catfish and The Bottlemen are a natural reaction to an age of perpetual identity-crises, fruitless cravings for elusive individuality and the "curation" of everything from shoes to breakfast cereals. They've proved that simplicity isn't, as it turns out, a sin or the safest route to take.

Freed from opinion and expectation, young music fans flock in their tens of thousands to see and hear the band in concert, exercising joyful release, in communion, as the rest of the world appears to fight with itself on the outside.

Four years on, a new Catfish and The Bottlemen record could never sound like 'The Balcony'. The band's activities supporting their debut album quickly brought festival main stages and US late night television appearances. 'The Ride' propelled them further into UK sell-outs at Don Valley Stadium, Wembley Arena, Glasgow's Bellahouston Park and Cardiff Castle. Significantly, it also invited more quality time with global fans on tours to the USA, South America, Australia and Japan. Some of McCann's youthful restlessness on record, a distinct and endearing awkwardness as he approached relationships with friends and lovers, was destined to evolve with each, giant step.

The first snapshot of a new album, 'Fluctuate', performed throughout summer 2018, teased out a lean, refreshed version of everything Catfish fans find so easy so to love. McCann performed what sounded like a personal diary entry and he sang it to them, about them, for them and with them. They, typically, soon started to sing every word back. What had changed, subtly, was the cool, open air in which the song was allowed to hang, McCann's rhythmic delivery in each verse pinned to the bass and drums, saving the collective push for a supercharged chorus.
It's a progression that remains satisfyingly inside the box.

Catfish and The Bottlemen went it alone for near to a decade, before their guerrilla tactics (throwing demos on numerous stages and jamming them under car windscreen wipers) and relentless gigging paid off. "We've still been unsigned for longer than we've been signed," says McCann, seemingly never allowing himself to forget the self-initiated activity of their formative years, despite living in the new reality of being a platinum-selling, arena-filling young front man. In person, he's a character of kind humility, contrasting the magnetic image of the hip-swinging, black-clad front man that makes thousands of fans sway effortlessly to his every, energetic move. You get the feeling that he'd do it all again, no matter how long it took, to get Catfish and The Bottlemen to where they are now.

There are no red carpets for the band (they tried desperately to delay their arrival at the 2016 Brit Awards to avoid the frenzy), no tabloid-stirring relationships or ostentatious shows of excess. It's not restraint; it's the private life of four friends getting on with the jobs their fans have afforded them the privilege to get done. As McCann stares out into the endless sea on a windswept promenade he's far from the voracious desire of his audience, one which easily finds affinity with him and reaches out for personal connection. Yet the scene is dramatically poised. It's the very definition of the calm before the storm.

England, Winter 2018

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen

  • 14 Jan, 2020

    Catfish and the Bottlemen: Exhibition London For War Child

    Catfish and the Bottlemen will play Exhibition, London W12 on 8th February in aid of the charity War Child, as part of Brits Week.
    General release tickets available at 9am this Friday 17th January.

  • 05 Dec, 2019

    Catfish and The Bottlemen: Singleton Park, Swansea

    Catfish and The Bottlemen with special guests You Me At Six, will play Singleton Park, Swansea on 23rd May.

  • 08 Oct, 2019

    Catfish and the Bottlemen: European Tour Dates

    Catfish and the Bottlemen have announced their European tour dates for Winter 2020.

    europe tour
  • 25 Jan, 2019

    Catfish and the Bottlmen: UK Arena Tour

    Catfish and the Bottlemen will tour the UK in May 2019.

    catfish uk
  • 24 Sep, 2018

    Catfish & The Bottlemen: UK & Ireland Tour

    Catfish & The Bottlemen will tour the UK & Ireland in February 2019.
    See their artist page for full details.

    catfish tour
  • 24 Jul, 2018

    Kendal Calling 2018

    The Kendal Calling festival takes place this weekend in the Lake District, featuring many Primary Talent International artists, including the headliners for Friday, Saturday & Sunday nights.

    Friday 27th July
    ...Catfish And The Bottlemen (Headliner)

    Saturday 28th July
    ...Plan B (Headliner)

    Sunday 29th July
    ...The Libertines (Headliner)

    other artists include...

    ...The Sherlocks
    ...Fun Lovin' Criminals
    ...William McCarthy
    ...Tom Grennan
    ...Pale Waves
    ...Dub Pistols
    ...Jordan Allen
    ...Saint Agnes
    ...Basement Jaxx (DJ Set)

    kendal calling
  • 11 Jul, 2018

    Boardmasters 2018

    The Boardmasters festival, takes place in Cornwall from 8th - 12th August and features a whole host of Primary Talent International & Decked Out artists.

    ...Catfish and The Bottlemen (Friday Headliners)
    ...The Horrors
    ...Fun Lovin' Criminals
    ...The Sherlocks
    ...Will Clarke
    ...MJ Cole
    ...Krystal Klear
    ...Bad Parents
    ...Saint Agnes
    ...Mike Skinner
    ...Barely Legal

  • 26 Jun, 2018

    Catfish And The Bottlemen: At SSE Arena Wembley

    Leapfrogging a spectacular summer of international festival appearances and looking to warm up their still-growing legion of fans this winter, an energised Catfish and The Bottlemen announce their return to The SSE Arena, Wembley on Friday 2 November 2018.

    Two years on from their last, critically-acclaimed, sell-out appearance at Wembley in late 2016, the band return to a place that became symbolic of the band's unassailable rise from well-kept secret to vehemently adored arena-fillers. Having sold out their forthcoming Cardiff Castle date within 24 hours and incendiary festival appearances fuelling their momentum, their return to the capital is announced amid obvious and ever growing demand.

    Contributing a sense of unapologetic ambition to British guitar music and teasing the promise of new material to follow their 2016, gold-status album, 'The Ride', the band is led onto ever bigger stages in the US, Spain, France and on home soil throughout summer 2018 by venerated frontman and songwriter, Van McCann, with Johnny Bond (lead guitar), Benji Blakeway (bass) and Bob Hall (drums).

    Catfish and The Bottlemen admit to being happily of "no fixed abode" due to near constant touring and recording since 2014, when now platinum-certified debut album 'The Balcony' surfaced. From within any audience from Manchester to Melbourne, critics and peers have been engulfed by the swell of eager sentiment propelled by a vociferous fan base.

    Tickets are available from the link below.

  • 25 Jun, 2018

    Catfish And The Bottlemen: SSE Area Wembley

    Catfish and the Bottlemen have announced a huge show at the SSE Arena Wembley, in London on 2nd November. Tickets on sale from Friday 28th June.

  • 06 Apr, 2018

    Y-Not? Festival 2018

    The Y-Not? Festival in Derbyshire from 26th - 29th July, has announced it's day-split, and features a whole host of Primary Talent International artists, including many of the headliners.

    Thursday 26th July
    ...Razorlight (Headliner)

    Friday 27th July
    ...The Libertines (Headliner)
    ...Circa Waves
    ...The Sherlocks

    Saturday 28th July
    ...Catfish and the Bottlemen (Headliner)
    ...Pale Waves
    ...Marika Hackman
    ...Tom Grennan
    ...Paris Youth Foundation
    ...Gaffa Tape Sandy

    Sunday 29th July
    ...The Wombats (Headliner)
    ...Bad Sounds
    ...Husky Loops

    y not