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All Points East Presents… CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN

Topping the bill of Britain’s indie elite, Catfish and the Bottlemen brought their anthemic tunes to London’s Victoria Park.

Following the success of its first huge weekend, which saw LCD Soundsystem, The xx and Björk grace the stage, the inaugural edition of brand new ten day event All Points East continued in a marvellous way. Bathed in the warm sun rays, Hackney’s Victoria Park opened its gates once again, this time for the indie enthusiasts. Catfish and the Bottlemen were first to kick off the All Points East Presents… shows, and it was clear that they had been truly missed.

Friday’s line-up was jam-packed with the best selection of British indie acts, including the nation’s favourite Blossoms, The Magic Gang and The Amazons, alongside the ever so raucous Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and American rockers The Neighbourhood. With drinks in hands and glitter on many faces, the crowd was ready to welcome their long-awaited headliners.

Since their 2014’s platinum debut album The BalconyCatfish and the Bottlemen have become one the UK’s biggest guitar bands to break through this decade. Stepping up to true arena status, they have made appearances at numerous festivals over the last couple of years. After a short break, they were about to take to the APE East Stage for their biggest headline show to date.

Accompanied by the inflated crocodiles, which have now become symbolic of the band, flooding the audience, and colourful flare smoke rising up in the air, Catfish and the Bottlemen made a thunderous entrance to the crushing sound of Homesick. Coated in their signature red and green hue, the band delivered a set that fell as revitalising as it felt nostalgic.

As we were reliving some of the greatest achievements they captured on their debut, Kathleen and Fallout brought along gritty guitars and tenacious temperament of their early material. Easily led by frontman Van McCann’s fierce stage persona, the crowd joined their voices for a massive singalong. Swaying to the rolling drums and catchy beats of Business, I watched a few brave dancers losing themselves amongst the eager masses, whilst Pacifier was one of those songs that truly showcased the raw and authentic essence of the band. Bold and straightforward in their lyrical efforts, CATB’s music resonates with the young generation that still sing their lungs out at the band’s live shows.

Their 2016’s sophomore The Ride continued the outbursts of energy and enthusiasm. Soundcheck‘s dynamic rhythmics surely had waken up even the most tired festival goers, Twice struck with lyrical twists and the band’s swagger as McCann owned the stage, and 7 was another great chance to dance around to the anthemic chorus.

Slowing down just for a brief moment, Hourglass saw the singer performing acoustic solo duties, while Heathrow exposed the band’s more sentimental side. The diversity in their set was well balanced, with pure bliss and melancholy mixing in the air.

Standing firmly at the forefront of the modern guitar bands, Catfish and the Bottlemen still impress with daring attitude and sharp performances. In spite of their young age as a band, their catalogue of works already feels timeless resonating with the listeners. And as they rounded things off with a gutsy guitar jam of Tyrants, the lyrics “I won’t feel the same in the mornin'” could have not sounded more accurate than it that very moment.

Photos: Kasia Osowiecka