Catfish and the Bottlemen w/ Jamie N Commons
The anticipation for Catfish and the Bottlemen had been ramping up for much longer than the two hours before the show. The rumblings of their thunderous stage show began, fittingly, in the sloppy fields of Glastonbury in the early summer. The seeds were firmly planted preceding the summertime staple, Lollapalooza, when the British four-piece had been hailed as one of the can’t-miss acts of the Chicago festival. A date in Detroit had been circled on the calendars since the day it was announced.
To whet our appetites, we were served up the outlaw-blues sound of Jamie N Commons. Donning a poncho, the English Jamie Commons started with an acoustic number with a soulful deep growling vocal performance. The rest of the band joined in on stage for an energetic and stylish rendition of their soulful, blues influenced sound. Jamie had a very charming control over the crowd, especially the ladies, who seemed to almost outnumber the men for this particular show.
There was a somewhat shocking guy/girl ratio for a band like Catfish and the Bottlemen, who are regarded as a bit of a punk act. It wasn’t a “sausage-fest” as I had anticipated, but it wasn’t exactly a “clam bake” either. It seemed to be a 50/50 ratio of hot dogs and buns, or as I would call it, “perfect picnic” (a term I just made up…it needs some work). The perfect mix of estrogen and testosterone, along with the anticipation for a much talked about band, made for one of the most enjoyable crowd experiences I have seen for some time.
A particularly incredible jam playlist, in between the opener and main act, culminated with “Helter Skelter” as the light show shot into full effect and we were finally introduced to Catfish and the Bottlemen. The energy from lead man Van McCann was spread like Ebola through the crowd, as he slashed and slammed his way through the opening number.
Throughout the night, the crowd insisted on being part of the show, rather than just watching a show. Without the typical silly prompts from McCann (ie “everyone clap your hands!”) the crowd instinctively began to join in. Everything an artist craves from a live crowd, Catfish and the Bottlemen were getting – from dancing, to screaming, to clapping along with the beat, to even singing the chorus – it was all there. The set came to an end with an explosive rendition of their song “Tyrant” that saw McCann shred his guitar in nearly all positions of the Kama Sutra. Echoes of the audio riot reverberated throughout the venue for a good 10 minutes after the final chord was struck. An incredible way to end an incredible performance.
Catfish and the Bottlemen have built their following the old fashioned way – they earned it. Years of touring, never taking a night off, giving it their all, and the result is a loyal group of rabid fans. The anticipation was well deserved, and after last night, it only has become stronger for the next time we all get Catfished.
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