Catfish and the Bottlemen released their critically acclaimed sophomore album, The Ride, earlier this year.

27-Aug-2016: They often say the second album is the hardest for an artist, try telling that to this British quartet. Catfish and the Bottlemen have done the rounds this festival season, but tonight they find themselves closing out the finale of a series of Summer shows in Newcastle’s Times Square.

Despite the concert falling over the same weekend as Reading and Leeds Festival, there was never any doubt where the local faithful would be spending their Saturday night. Fans snapped up all 5,000 tickets as soon as they went on sale, thanks to high demand.

Tonight also sees the homecoming of the band’s Geordie guitarist Johnny Bond, who joined Catfish and the Bottlemen back in 2014 following the departure of founding lead guitarist Billy Bibby.

Approaching the venue, hoards of eager fans queue around the block to secure their spot at the front of the stage. Joining the Bottlemen this evening are a trio of North East based artists, including Tom Mouse Smith, Them Things, and The Little Comets.

Much like Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Little Comets have witnessed great success over recent years, both at home and in the US. Tonight’s show in Newcastle is a far cry from the days where the band used to play guerilla gigs in the local Marks and Spencer supermarket, university lecture halls or even Newcastle’s public transport system, The Metro (you can see for yourself on YouTube).

The Little Comets deliver a well-balanced set featuring tracks from their latest album Hope Is Just A State of Mind like “My Boy William” alongside some of their earlier material like the beautiful “A Little Opus,” which stands out in the set. Old favourites like “Joanna,” the up-tempo “One Night in October,” and set closer “Dancing Song” get the audience moving. The band leaves the crowd raring to go for Catfish and the Bottlemen.

The excitement in the air is palpable as the sounds of Dean Martin usher Van McCann and company to the stage. The band open the show with “Homesick.” McCann is full of energy and charisma, and he has the audience eating out of the palms of his hands from the off.

The Bottlemen come out with all guns blazing, and during their 90-minute set, they don’t take their foot off the pedal once. There is an anthemic quality to each song in the band’s setlist; it’s a good job the crowd brought their singing voices as they accompany on every song. They hang on every word of the likes of “Fallout,” “Kathleen” and new song “Twice.”

Glancing around the square, many of their fans are raised aloft on the shoulders of their friends, several of which set off flares, smoke drifting towards the stage.

The band break into “Outside” from their latest offering before a beautiful solo acoustic rendition of “Hourglass,” with McCann leading the audience into a mass singalong. As the rest of the band return to the stage, the night closes with a trio of frantic numbers in the shape of “7,” “Cocoon,” and the last song on their debut album, “Tyrants.”

With a No. 1 album under their belt and an army of adoring fans propelling them along, tonight is just the tip of the iceberg for Catfish and the Bottlemen.

Catfish and the Bottlemen
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Little Comets
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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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