Reviewed on Friday January 6
Almost two years since Catfish And The Bottlemen cancelled what would have been their first Australian tour, hundreds of fans packed into a sold-out Enmore Theatre, eagerly anticipating the band’s Sydney debut. And as if to make up for lost time, Catfish turned it up loud.
Melbourne punk rockers Fan Girl warmed up the crowd with an assortment of heavy head-banging tracks. At times their performance was chaotic, and they felt like a garage band onstage, but their undying energy held the audience’s attention.
When Catfish And The Bottlemen emerged by blasting out ‘Homesick’, an equally deafening roar greeted them. They seemed taken aback at first by the enthusiasm, but quickly settled into it, encouraging the cheers and chants of the audience.
They truly weren’t shy about turning the sound up, which made the experience all the more impactful. At first the band pushed through some sound mixing issues, which left lead singer Van McCann’s vocals sounding tinny, and made the crashing and banging of guitars and drums seem like crowded noise. But the extra grunge certainly didn’t hurt their performance.
Tracks from their latest album The Ride were the real crowd-pleasers, with ‘Soundcheck’, ‘7’ and ‘Twice’ lighting up the mosh. While the band never strayed too far from the recorded versions of the songs, as a first Sydney show this didn’t matter – these melodic rock tunes were enough to enchant the fans.
However, things took a turn when the Welshmen unexpectedly ended the show with ‘Tyrants’ from their first album The Balcony. It seemed like an odd choice for a final song, as many of the audience members were scratching their heads at the lyrics. But the song erupted in a glorious guitar solo, swirling and escalating until McCann climbed to the top of their enormous stack of amps and launched off, leaving his guitar to screech out into nothing.
Unfortunately there was no encore, but our eardrums probably couldn’t have taken it.