If you’re going to bring back guitar rock, might as well do it in the loudest way possible, right? That seemed to be the modus operandi for Catfish and the Bottlemen and their openers The Worn Flints last Friday at the Danforth Music Hall, when they put on a show that shook the rafters, the foundation, and everything in between.
The Worn Flints are from Columbus Ohio, and half their sound is that of an all-American blues rock band. The other half, however, is straight up noise rock. The marriage of these two styles results in something not quite like any other band out there right now. The riffs are fierce and the attitude brash, but there’s a melodic undercurrent that comes out when the band goes into an extended jam. The closest contemporary comparison would be a union between Kings of Leon and the Irish act Girl Band. It was a bold appetizer for the main course of Catfish.
It’s no secret that guitars have taken a back seat to keyboards and samplers in the past few years, but Catfish and the Bottlemen paid no mind to that fact. This was a straight up, wall-of-sound rock show, with stacks and stacks of amps. It also hinted that the Welsh band is on the cusp of inheriting the mantle of “biggest UK band”. Not only was the show sold out, but the fans were so rabid that even the band was genuinely surprised at the vigor on display. But they threw that vigor right back at the crowd with their performance.
You’d think from this description that this would be a concert focusing on intensity over musicality. While the sonic force was something to be reckoned with, Catfish and the Bottlemen are also some of the most capable songwriters going right now. Frontman Van McCann knows his way around a hook! So in addition to a blast of sheer rock to the face, the crowd was also getting some really well-crafted UK rock.
The band only have two studio albums under their belt so far but singles aplenty. The set was pretty evenly balanced between hits from first album The Balcony and current release The Ride, and flowed seamlessly. Hits like “Kathleen”, “Cocoon”, and “Pacifier” are all hook-filled extravaganzas, with both their respective verses and choruses being instantly memorable. The newer material was just as fun, and it’s easy to imagine songs like “Anything” or the fantastic “Red” pumping out of the radio any day now.
This might be pure conjecture, but a show like that raises speculation about the band’s future touring plans- namely the 2017 festival circuit. It wouldn’t be the least bit unreasonable to think that a main stage sometime next year has these guys’ name on it. They’ve earned it.