Following on from the success of both the Live From Times Square outdoor concert series and the region’s largest inner-city music festival Hit The North, promoters SSD concerts deliver their newest festival offering This Is Tomorrow.

The high profile event brings live music back to Newcastle’s Spillers Wharf for the first time since 2013’s Evolution Festival.

Sam Fender opens the proceedings early in the evening. The Newcastle native remarks that when he was just 17 years old he opened for Catfish and the Bottlemen in front of just 200 people in London; somewhat of a stark difference from today’s almost 14,000 strong crowd. Fender’s incredible voice and infectious indie pop numbers captivate the strong local crowd proving just exactly why he so deservedly made the BBC Sound of 2018 nominations list this year.

Tonight also marks a return date for local favourites the Little Comets, who featured as special guests to Catfish and the Bottlemen at their 2016 sold out Live From Square outdoor show. The Little Comets deliver a set featuring a good mixture of new and old tracks. Fan favourites like “Joanna” with its harmonious and somewhat tropical rhythm, the up-tempo “One Night in October,” and lively set closer “Dancing Song” get the crowd moving and warmed up on this slightly overcast Friday evening.

Everything Everything brings something a bit different to the proceedings with their distinctive brand of synth-infused, bass-heavy, electro indie pop. Tracks like the euphoric “Fever Dream”, the incredibly infectious “Spring, Sun, Winter, Dread” and the band’s epic floor filler “Night Of The Long Knives” get the party started at Spillers Wharf.

Tonight marks the long-awaited live return of Catfish and the Bottlemen. This being the band’s first show in the region since their sold-out appearance at Live From Times Square in 2016 and their only UK show of 2018 thus far. Subsequently, the quartet has remarkably almost doubled the size of their crowd since their last visit to the region. It’s fair to say that the Welsh four-piece have captured the hearts and minds of a generation of indie music fans.

Local lad and Catfish guitarist Johnny Bond is no stranger to tonight’s venue having played in this very spot with his previous band Detroit Social Club at Evolution Festival some time ago.

The excitement in the air is palpable as the sounds of The Beatles “Helter Skelter” usher Catfish and the Bottlemen onto the stage. The band open the show with a triple whammy of “Homesick”, “Kathleen” and “Soundcheck”.

Catfish and the Bottlemen come out with all guns blazing, there is a real anthemic quality to each song in the band’s setlist and that in turns fuels their fans to sing wholeheartedly at the tops of their voices throughout. This is particularly the case during the likes of old favourites “Pacifier” and “Fallout”; with their catchy hooks, these songs are the perfect soundtrack to an outdoor summer festival such as This Is Tomorrow.

There is somewhat of an electric atmosphere at Spillers Wharf tonight; many of the Bottlemen’s fans are raised aloft on the shoulders of their friends, several of which set off flares, smoke atmospherically drifts towards the stage. A video wall behind the band frequently projects images of the gargantuan crowd in attendance tonight giving us a moment to reflect on the magnitude of the event.

The group launch into “Outside” from their current Number 1 album The Ride, before momentarily slowing down the proceedings with a beautiful solo acoustic rendition of “Hourglass”. The aforementioned song of course results in a mass singalong from the Geordie faithful.

As the rest of the band return to the stage, Catfish and the Bottlemen close out their set with a trio of frantic indie rock numbers in the shape of “7,” “Cocoon,” and “Tyrants”. The latter of which takes the set full circle and back to the closing number of their debut album The Balcony.

Tonight Catfish and the Bottlemen proves that they are in a league of their own. With now two chart-topping albums and a rapidly growing and fiercely loyal fan base behind them surely a stadium tour is just around the corner. Only time will tell?

Catfish and the Bottlemen
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Event Date: 26-May-2018

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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