Catfish and the Bottlemen + The Worn Flints @ Théâtre Corona – 3rd May 2107

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Catfish and the Bottlemen Montreal

Welsh rockers Catfish & The Bottlemen have slowly but surely been making their mark on the music scene for the past few years, having last visited our city for a rousing set at Osheaga in 2015. Tonight’s show at the Corona is far from sold out but what they lack in numbers, the crowd more than make up for in enthusiasm.

The Worn Flints

First up tonight are a band who are completely new to me, and I assume much of this female-heavy audience, The Worn Flints. They’re a three-piece rock group from Columbus, Ohio drawing influences from blues, psychedelic rock, folk and even reggae with a focus on abstract song structures and full-on guitar-hero solos. They also possess one of the most entertaining frontmen around in Kenny Stiegele, who prances around the stage like some hyped up mix of The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins and Jack Black’s character in School Of Rock. The crowd are instantly transfixed, whooping and smiling as Stiegele pulls out a series of over-the-top rock posses before shredding on guitar.

Worn Flints singer

Much of their swaggering blues-rock owes a heavy debt to early White Stripes and will certainly appeal to fans of Thee Oh Sees. The energy wains a little mid-set as they bring the tempo and the theatrics down a few notches, and the novelty side of their performance (and it is a performance!) does get less interesting with each song but, by the end of their set, they’ve certainly won over the majority of the room.

Catfish and the Bottlemen corona

Catfish & The Bottlemen know how to instantly win their audience over. As they casually saunter on stage with a wave there is no sign of pretence, just a bunch of friends here to play some rock n roll, and that they do very well indeed. The triple hitter of Homesick, Kathleen and Soundcheck set the bar high straight from the off, and the fans go suitably nuts. It’s such a strong opening that you wonder how they can possibly match it for the rest of the show…. and then they just keep getting better!

Catfish and the Bottlemen McCann

Musically their sound is down-the-line anthemic indie rock, with frontman Ryan Evan “Van” McCann having stated, “I feel like everybody started thinking too outside the box trying to be arty and different. We wanted to stay inside the box”. There are similarities to fellow Brits, The Kooks and The Cribs but with an added punch.

Catfish and the Bottlemen Montreal Corona

McCann is a commanding presence centre stage, never standing still any longer than he has to, his energy takes the songs to a new level in a live setting. His bandmates all look cool as fuck too as they hammer out the rhythms alongside him.

They’re hear in support of last year’s The Ride album, with Twice being a particular highlight tonight. It’s possibly their most cleverly constructed song while never veering away from the singalong anthems that have won audiences over worldwide.

A solo acoustic version of 7 from McCann makes for a engaging moment before the bombastic finale of Tyrants ends things on an invigorating high, the vocalist switching guitars mid-song before playing it with his teeth. A near-perfect performance from a band who are surely only just beginning to have the impact they look set to have. They may remain no-frills rock n roll, but sometimes that’s exactly what the doctor ordered!

Catfish and the Bottlemen Canada

Review & photos – Steve Gerrard

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