Live Review: Catfish and The Bottlemen and Little Comets, O2 Academy Sheffield, 4.4.2015

Around Valentine’s Day last year, I was sent to the Leadmill to review two indie bands mid-way through their UK tour. Little did I know I would be reviewing those same two bands, together, as they tour once again in 2015 – just bigger venues this time. Catfish and the Bottlemen began as support for Little Comets, and they’ve returned the favour this year by offering their support slot back to the Newcastle-based trio. Friendships like the ones we see here ought to be treasured.

Little Comets opened the show with ‘Gift of Sound’, a song from their latest album Hope Is Just A State Of Mind, easing us into the night at hand. Only a month ago this band played at The Rocking Chair, a 80 capacity venue, and now they were performing to a sold-out crowd at the O2 Academy. It’s a big step up, and Little Comets are more than ready for it.

“This next song is really slow, and sad…” lead singer Rob Coles tells us, introducing ‘The Blur, the Line and the Thickest of Onions’. It earned Little Comets their biggest applause so far; the Sheffield crowd knew it was an important song and Rob was sincere in thanking them for their attention.

“Last year we were lucky enough to tour with the lads… we’re so glad to be back out with them again.” Rob says, refering to the tour he shared with Catfish & The Bottlemen in February 2014. The boys then threw their energy into ‘Dancing Song’, a track that lived up to its name and got most of Yorkshire moving to its beat.

Feedback echoed across the stage long after Little Comets had left it, yet the boys returned to pack away their own gear, highlighting just how much of a DIY band they are, proud to work hard for their accomplishments.

The O2 Academy was positively vibrating when Catfish and the Bottlemen approached the stage. Waves of people were shouting for the headline act; the floor moved as social boundaries were shattered – everyone wanted to get as close to the band as humanly possible. A red mist filled the stage when the band finally appeared, and the opening notes of ‘Rango’ announced the start of the show.

The Sheffield audience were on edge, whilst desperately pretending they weren’t.  We were excited to see a band that has accomplished so much in so little a time; their debut album going Gold earlier this week. “SHEFFIELD, ARE YOU WITH ME?” lead singer Van McCann shouted, already knowing that the answer would be deafening.

It wasn’t long before the crowd descended into chaos; people were climbing on each other’s shoulders and crowd-surfing to the front, thoroughly enjoying their moment of complete disorder. One fan described the night as: “Going over the front barrier during Cocoon like our grandfathers went over the trenches.” Well, that’s something to be proud of, isn’t it?

“Sheffield, this is Sideshow Bob. He’s the best drummer on the planet” Van tells us, before heading straight into ‘Fallout’. There wasn’t a moment when the crowd wasn’t singing along – Van did everything he could to be heard above the madness. Even between songs Sheffield wouldn’t quieten down; they were so loud that “YORKSHIRE” could probably be heard chanted across its neighbouring counties.

The stage turned red as Catfish and the Bottlemen ended the night with ‘Tyrants’. The band kept asking if we were with them, and without a doubt we were. They’re sincere, and when they kicked up the tempo for the final refrain, Sheffield was ready to ride it through. Van McCann stood at the front of the stage as our hero, enjoying the night just as much as we were. He seems bewildered at his band’s success, but I can think of no one else who deserves it more.

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