Dynamic guitar riffs and rich bass lines echoed through a wall of ten stand-up amplifiers surrounding the drummer’s den. The band seems to belong in another decade, but their contagious choruses and hypnotic hooks emulate the commercial rock and roll made popular by bands like the Strokes and Arctic Monkeys.
Though the band excels in messy guitar licks and marathon drum solos, the most impressive moment of the night by far was when McCann braved the stage alone for the acoustic “Hourglass.” In a seamless transition from the amplified album opener, “Homesick,” McCann’s three supporting band members snuck away, leaving him standing beneath a single spotlight. The crowd responded to McCann’s somber demeanor and quickly fell silent to savor the tender, but still edgy ballad. Developing fame has turned McCann into an unsuspecting heartthrob, a virtue he surely recognizes when pouring his heart out to his devoted — and predominantly female — fans during this brief solo moment.
His voice, similar to that of Justin Young (The Vaccines) or Noel Gallagher (formerly of Oasis), floats through the slow chorus with ease, with hints of his trademark raspy tone escaping along the way. It’s safe to say that if there was anyone in the audience who was not already smitten by Van McCann, they were after hearing the vulnerable side of his voice that night.
Catfish and the Bottlemen breezed through the entire track list of their one and only album, ending the eleven song set with fan favorite, “Tyrants.” McCann’s rowdy energy was enough for the whole band, as the rest of the four-piece remained focused and obediently provided back-up vocals when needed. What the anthem lacks in lyrics it makes up with enormous instrumental skill. The Bottlemen are unpolished on the surface, but exhibit a natural ability and passion that makes them stand out from the multitude of bands hoping to give rock music the revival it desperately needs. Though their name may still be relatively unrecognized in the States, these UK rockers surely convinced this Terminal 5 crowd that Catfish and the Bottlemen are not to be forgotten.