Not many bands are better live than recorded, but Catfish and the Bottlemen somehow still blow me away whenever I see them live. Seventh time in the fifth different city, it was once again a treat to the eyes and ears.

Opening again with Rango, the show always starts as it means to go on. Playing their largest UK headline tour to date, this was the second consecutive night at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, both selling out.

Last night saw Luke Pritchard (the Kooks), Josh Franceschi (You Me At Six), Chris Caines (Coasts) and Greg James all spectating Catfish and the Bottlemen, certainly not a bad crowd. Then again, the 2500 ‘normal’ fans that packed into the venue were in fine form.

So, is playing the Balcony in full becoming a dated and dull thing for Catfish and the Bottlemen? Both yes and no. By only having the one album out it is difficult to add variety without delving into Poetry and Fuel or Beautiful Decay EPs. However, if you want quality throughout then the Balcony is the album you want to hear in full.

After seeing Catfish and the Bottlemen in Middlesbrough, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle did London compare to the northern crowds? In my (biased) opinion, the north always do it better, although the magnificent venue added something special to the gig. I hadn’t been to that venue since seeing Courteeners there in 2013, pleasurable experiences both times.

The size of the venue certainly didn’t put the band off, a tremendous display and a professional approach, Catfish and the Bottlemen certainly know how to put on a performance. Blasting through the likes of 26, Kathleen and Business, the set was immense throughout.

Pacifier was once again the highlight for me personally, either that or the full crowd singing their hearts out to Homesick. Frontman Van McCann announced that the Balcony had went ‘gold’ so last night’s gig was a celebration for this.

Fans that had waited for months to finally see the Welsh (& Geordie Bond) outfit will agree that it was worth it. As always, Hourglass was played beautifully with many a fan on each others shoulders serenading each other. Great viewing.

Typically, Tyrants closed the set with an eye melting light display going on behind them, London were calling out for a band that will get them going and two sold out Catfish and the Bottlemen dates at Shepherd’s Bush Empire left them satisfied. The rain outside certainly didn’t dampen any spirits!

Another two London dates are already sold out for Catfish and the Bottlemen, it is amazing to think that they aren’t playing for another NINE months. However, it is the 5000 capacity Brixton Academy that will host the lads.

This is certainly a gig that should not be missed!


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