Catfish and the Bottlemen @ HBF Stadium 

w/ Fyre Byrd 
Sunday, July 28, 2019


Sunday night at HBF Stadium marked Catfish and the Bottlemen’s first ever headline show in WA, and it was almost a surprise to see the venue packed for the affair. This had all the potential to be amazing, as the band have a reputation for their live show, as those who have seen them at festivals can attest to, but it was somewhat let down by a terrible support act and an overuse of a bass drop-style sound throughout their set.

Fyre Byrd

Adelaide two-piece Fyre Byrd opened up the show, and I don’t think anyone in the crowd knew who they were, and, to the band’s credit, they did acknowledge this, but the set was definitely a let down. The duo sounded like a bad rip off of every American punk band – they even covered Green Day just to prove it. It was not an enjoyable set, and very few crowd members really got into it. Luckily it was short.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen entered the stage after a lot of anticipation-building music and opened with Longshot, which got the crowd singing along straight away. A giant light structure of The Balance album art lit up, and so did a bunch of onstage lights, which is more than what the band usually have light-wise for their shows. Longshot pummelled straight into Kathleen and Soundcheck which ticked off a song from each album early in the setlist.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

The Balcony was pulled from quite often with the band playing Pacifier and Fallout, plus fan favourite Twice in between. Conversation gave us another look at the band’s latest album, before diving back into the old with Anything and Business. Unfortunately the band lost the crowd at this point, due to having a jam that was simply too long during the bridge section of Business, but hearing Sidetrack next recaptured the crowd’s attention.

Catfish and the Bottlemen

Huge singalongs ensued when they started the familiar riff to Homesick, which was again followed by another huge singalong, 2all, a favourite from The Balance. The last three tracks was where most of the magic happened with the band going from 7 to Cocoon to their forever closing track Tyrants. Cocoon, as expected, got the entire crowd jumping and singing along, with singer Van McCann encouraging punters to get on shoulders (despite the fact security wasn’t a big fan of this).

Van was constantly moving around the stage, the man never stopped or slowed down, leaving him absolutely covered in sweat. He made sure to connect with the crowd by coming to the edge of the stage and looking out, singing the words directly to us, before moving back to centre stage and giving all he had to his guitar.

Unfortunately, the band employed a habit of bass drops that they would use in some songs to give them extra oomph, and while it worked occasionally, by the end of the show it was overused and unappreciated by those right at the front near the speakers. In saying this, the rest of the sound for the show was absolutely perfect, with every instrument being at a perfect level. The songs sounded incredible through those stadium speakers.

As expected, the Bottlemen put on an excellent live show, that could have only been made better by less jamming, less bass and a support act that wasn’t so lame.


Photos by Linda Dunjey


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