Catfish and The Bottlemen – Victoria Warehouse.

Freshly washed hair, well-kept Doc Martens and a brand new A-line skirt, it is safe to say I had NOT dressed for the occasion – but bloody hell it has been a long time since my last gig. After a year of god damn awful pop music – If I here even an utter of Drake’s One Dance again, I can not be held responsible for my actions – I was looking forward to listening to some decent music with a cold cider in hand. And Catfish and The Bottlemen were exactly what the doctor ordered. The northern heart-throbs always remind me of my carefree uni days when my best friend would always have the vinyl blaring from her room – God what I would do to go back to those days. Right, before I get too nostalgic. Here’s what Catfish and The Bottlemen had to say.

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Sticky floor, ten-year-old confetti stained ceiling and a thrown together stage – I knew it was going to be a good night. Gracing the stage with the banging opener, ‘Homesick‘, the crowd went from a civilised bunch of people apologising for the odd push to absolute chaos in a couple of seconds. People catapulting themselves headfirst onto complete strangers, lads grabbing on to the sweaty jackets of randomers to keep themselves upright and fan girls throwing themselves on shoulders to get a quick glimpse of Van – gah what a man. With my shoes well and truly christened, I was more than in the mood for the moshpits which were expected to follow. Banger after banger, the boys did far from disappoint.

With a fair mix of tunes off their old album, Balcony, and their newest treasure, The Ride, the crowd were truly spoilt. Having not listened to the new album as much as I had hoped before the gig – a few songs were a nice surprise. ‘Anything‘ is going to be a grower for sure. You know you’ve done well when you’ve got a catchy tune – you know the foot tapper type of tune. But when you’ve got genuis lyrics to go with it, you know you’ve nailed it. And that’s what Catfish have done on every single album. Fair play lads.

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Biggest tune of the night was of course ‘Kathleen‘. I don’t think my feet stayed on the ground at all for the whole of that. But what I do remember is choking on a the wispy curls of the girl in front of my during my heartfelt rendition of the song – it was rather inconvenient. Hairballs aside, it was nice to be surrounded by a cracking crowd who were there to waste every single ounce of oxygen belting out the tunes – rather than perfecting the best shot for a snapchat story. There is nothing worse. If I wanted to watch the band through a tiny screen I’d be sat at home on YouTube, tar.

Despite a wicked show, the lads lacked a little something – a few words perhaps. I’m not asking for a sit down chin wag about Brexit or the presidential debate. But a few words would have been nice. I think Van said about four words in total. It just seemed as though the gig was over in a flash and that was it. ‘Tyrants‘, no encore and home.

All in all, they were well worth the wait and I can not wait to see what they come up with next.

Peace out.

The Mad Grad 

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‘In yer f*ckin face’

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Take what you know about theatre and fuck it out the window – that’s exactly what In Your Face theatre did. A 75 minute fix; disorientated, confused and at times, extremely uncomfortable – it was proper hit. Performed in The Rainbow (a cold, dilapidated shed) and engulfed by a 90’s rave on arrival – reality was soon lost. Perplexed was an understatement. You just knew it was going to be an eccentric performance, then again, it was Trainspotting.

As a sparse set, erratic strobe lighting and make-shift bodily fluids lined the floor – the artistic directors depicted Welsh’s 80’s novel remarkably. Faced with full-frontal nudity (some involuntary closer than others), extreme violence and a-little-too-convincing drug use, it was impossible to escape from the real issues that were being touched upon. Like the junkies, we also had no choice.

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A credit to Welsh’s don’t-give-a-fuck novel, the performance was next to nothing. Gavin Ross – who managed to get himself into a series of shit situations – played Renton to a tee. Shoulders deep in a faeces infested toilet after lubricating a suppository which he earlier stuck up his back side – Ross has guts. Either that, or a trained gag reflex. It’s more than most of the audience could say. Then again, I didn’t receive a clout in the face with a unknown-brown-substance-soaked-tissue (Others weren’t so lucky). Perhaps quite a large claim to make, the Scottish star’s performance was on par with Ewan McGregor. Ey up Danny Boyle, we’ve found your man for the sequel.

It’s a performance for realists. Screw your average theatre with your pigeon holed stalls and boxes – this was a free for all. Screw boundaries. No-one had a right to an opinion in this place. No-one ever felt safe.

A story about a lack opportunities, an ambiguous future and a broken society. You could say, History is repeating itself. “Choose life, choose a career and choose a fixed-interest mortgage repayments”(yeah right, like that’s possible.)

Done and dusted in Birmingham, the cast have moved onto Bristol for the last leg of their journey. Living up to their 5-star rating, they’ve performed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in front of Irvine Welsh, the man who gave birth to this outstanding cult novel.

“Shocking… and I wrote the f*cking thing.”

                                             – Irvine Welsh, On ‘In Your Face’ theatre performance.

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