Since breaking through into the mainstream with their 2014 debut album, The Balcony, Catfish and the Bottlemen have been at the forefront of an alternative scene eager for new torchbearers.
There’s been sizeable fanfare around the Welsh quartet and Saturday’s headline gig at Royal & Derngate proved why the hype is justified.
Following sold out shows across the UK, Catfish are on the road for a series of gigs before this summer’s festival season kicks in and the release of their second LP.
On Saturday, they played in front of 1,700 fans packed inside the sold out theatre – marking what was probably the biggest gig in the town since the sadly defunct Alive @ Delapre outdoor shows.
Joining Catfish were Sheffield quartet The Crookes, who did a top job warming up the Derngate crowd with a set which included tracks from their latest album Lucky Ones.
Despite having a new album on the horizon, Catfish played The Balcony LP in its entirety – albeit out of order and intersected with a handful of new songs including Twice and 7.
Arriving on stage to the Beatles’ Healer Skelter, the quartet opened with their debut’s first two tracks Homesick and Kathleen.
It’s a mark of the confidence Catfish have that they were happy to throw two of the biggest hits into their set so early on.
From the offset, and throughout their set, Catfish oozed stage presence, charisma and confidence.
Led by singer and guitarist Ryan McCann, the band bounded around the stage at every opportunity and sounded gigantic through the Derngate’s PA.
The hundreds inside added to an electric atmosphere, jumping around and singing along to every word. Other highlights of their set included new single Twice and Cacoon.
A cursory glance at the UK singles chart is a reminder how far from the cultural zeitgeist guitar driven music is and while Catfish aren’t reinventing the Wheel, they’re proving with the right hooks and huge choruses, there’s still a huge demand for alternative rock.
When this show was announced it sold out virtually instantly with many in the county looking on with curiosity.
While in partnership with promoters DHP, Royal & Derngate’s live music offering normally caters for a demographic less likely to be willing to cram into the venue like sardines and jump around all night.
Saturday proved several things. Firstly, believe the hype.
Catfish and the Bottlemen are one of the most exciting guitar bands around and if forthcoming LP The Ride is anywhere near as successful as its predecessor, they will continue on an upwards trajectory.
It also proved Northampton has somewhere easily capable of accommodating bands of this calibre, competing with similar size venues around the Midlands and drawing in fans to pack it to capacity.
More of the same from all involved please!
Catfish and the Bottlemen played: