It may well be Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night as it is sometimes known, but tonight the hot ticket in Newcastle is not the many firework displays taking place in the region, but rather the return of Brit indie rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen.

This evening’s sold-out concert follows closely off the back of their recent headline appearances at both the city’s This Is Tomorrow festival and the Live From Times Square open-air concert series. The latter of which took place a mere stone’s throw away from tonight’s venue – the Utilita Arena in Newcastle.

Of course, the Bottlemen has a strong connection with the North East of England. Guitarist Johnny Bond originates from Newcastle, and as such he receives a hero’s welcome at what is his ‘Homecoming’ this evening. As Bondi (as he is known in Newcastle) takes to the stage, he greets the arena with a big thumbs up.

The crowd at fever pitch as the band delivers a high octane opening with Longshot, Kathleen and Soundcheck all featuring at the top of the set. These initial trio of tracks are the types of arena-filling anthems that fans of the Bottlemen have come to know and love.

Frontman Van McCann is whirlwind of energy, he barely stands still for a moment. Often found at the edge of the stage, he spurs on all sides of the arena audience throughout. Whilst the thunderous rhythms laid down by Robert ‘Bob’ Hall (drums) and Benji Blakeway (bass) underpin the band’s set all night long.

With huge video screens against the rear wall of the arena featuring aerial footage of the crowd, it does allow you to appreciate the scale and response to tonight’s proceedings. Many of the Bottlemen’s fans are raised aloft on the shoulders of their friends, as they wholeheartedly sing back every word to the stage.

With a new album under their belt in the shape of The Balance, the band proudly showcase their latest offering. Tonight eight of the eleven tracks on the record feature. This includes the likes of Fluctuate, Overlap and Basically. With some of these tracks being so fresh that they’ve only been played live once previously – that being the night prior in Birmingham.

The beauty of the band’s new material is that each song sits seamlessly in the set alongside tried and tested fan favourites such as Twice, Fallout, Homesick or Rango. And whilst the band’s set is jam-packed with musical fireworks on this Guy Fawkes night, its tracks such as Van McCann’s beautiful solo acoustic rendition of Hourglass that showcases the diversity of the band’s repertoire.

Tonight the Bottlemen waste no time with false endings, or encores as they play straight through their 20 song setlist. The show concludes with a pair of anthemic classics in the shape of 7 and Cocoon. McCann closes out the night by singing the final few lines of the latter acapella, which is an incredibly effective closing to both the song and the night.

As the old saying goes Remember Remember the 5th of November. This sentiment certainly rings true this evening, Catfish and the Bottlemen delivers an unforgettable show that will undoubtedly leave their Tyneside fan base talking for many years to come.

Event Date: 05-Nov-2019

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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