By: Alexis Faber//
Upon entering the House of Blues to photograph the Catfish and the Bottlemen show, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I immediately noticed was that the venue was one of the coolest I’d ever been to. What I didn’t anticipate was that Catfish and their openers, July Talk, were about to make the already awesome venue even cooler!
As I waited patiently alongside the other photographers, I was both anxious and excited to capture the perfect images that would reflect this truly magical evening. When July Talk entered the stage, I was immediately struck by the passion that existed between lead singers Leah and Peter, and of course, the audience. The energy they exhibited on stage was beyond contagious, which allowed for a special connection between the audience members. As I looked around, it appeared that everyone inside the venue felt free to be themselves and were able to rock out without fear of judgment. That’s the goal for many musicians, but for July Talk especially, and it was nice to see them achieve that.
Once the opening set wrapped, the crowd soon gathered together, waiting not-so-patiently for Catfish and The Bottlemen to grace the stage. When they appeared, there was an instant love fest with the audience and it became very clear that the crowd was filled with true Catfish and the Bottlemen fans. As I gazed around the room, each mouth was moving in exact unison. Everyone in the building knew the lyrics to every single song. As the crowd screamed at the the top of their lungs I couldn’t quite imagine how on top of the world the band must have felt in that exact moment.
I took some time to focus on lead singer Van McCann, trying to in some way, shape or form, understand what he must’ve been feeling. I watched as he took the liveliness from the audience and infused that energy with his guitar, running around the stage as the other band members followed his lead. Having the incredible experience of watching this go on right before my eyes, I was able to capture Van in his most passionate state. He held his guitar like it was his best friend, especially during their performance of “Kathleen,” which is one of the band’s most popular songs.
One thing that stood out to me in particular was how personable and engaging Catfish was with their audience. Nowadays, more and more artists seem to be unapproachable, but at this concert it truly felt like the band members and the audience were one in the same, and maybe that’s why the fans feel such a connection in the first place. In my eyes, their authenticity did not go unnoticed, especially when they slowed down the show and allowed some time for the crowd to reflect on the incredible night we just had.
As I sit back right now and reflect on the night and what it meant to me personally, I recall leaving the venue with a big smile on my face. Not only did I leave the venue in a genuinely happy state, I also left knowing that now I connect with the band on an entirely different level than before. And if you want my advice, it’s this: RUN, don’t walk to the nearest Catfish and the Bottlemen show. You absolutely will not regret it.