Catfish And The Bottlemen. Picture: Jill Furmanovsky/Press
Llandudno rockers Catfish and the Bottlemen made their long awaited return at the beginning of 2019, firstly with the release of powerhouse new single 'Longshot', plus the full tracklisting and artwork to album number three, The Balance and then details of a full UK tour to coincide with its release.
Out of those announcements, what became instantly clear was that the stylistic and musical consistency displayed by Catfish and the Bottlemen throughout their entire time as one of the U.K's biggest and best loved bands wasn't going to change.
'Longshot' itself showed very little to no musical development from what had come before - lyrics full of colloquialism and a tale of a tethered relationship. It starts with a slow chugging verse that is followed by an explosive, impossibly catchy thunderbolt of a chorus - before the customary breakdown, then one more blast of its anthemic refrain before the close.
The album's track listing carried on the theme of single word titles, with the album title itself made up, just like the previous two, of just two words prefixed by the word 'the', while the artwork depicts another simple black and white image we're now so accustomed to seeing.
What was noticeably different when Catfish and the Bottlemen delivered this series of announcements however, was the size of the venues in which they would be performing in support of the release of The Balance.
Like it or not, Catfish and the Bottlemen are now a fully fledged arena band, capable of holding the biggest audiences in the palm of their hands - and why? Because their music means something. It speaks to people.
As the old adage goes, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', and what Van McCann and co have achieved through their music is something truly special.
In projecting about the things that the majority of people in the U.K go through physically and emotionally every week, from wild nights out, to loving, losing out and everything in between - Catfish and the Bottlemen manage to hit the nail on the head every single time.
Not only that, as a live act they are absolutely untouchable. In Hull, as part of a run of smaller capacity shows ahead of what is set to be a very busy remainder of 2019, they served a reminder of the sheer power, energy and emotion they deliver in their shows with McCann almost never stationary at any point during the 90 minute set.
After walking out to a blistering, isolated Paul McCartney 'Helter Skelter' vocal, the crowd were already tingling before the band launched straight into the aforementioned 'Longshot' with absolutely no hesitation.
Following up with tracks from a mixture of debut album The Balcony and follow up The Ride, the outfit worked through the likes of 'Kathleen', 'Pacifier', 'Soundcheck' and' Twice' during the early stages.
Production values have been amped up for sure, with the artwork of The Balance glaring on either side of the stage, while enormous screens beamed out images of the band from behind.
As well as the first two albums, fans were treated to 'Sidetrack', a new song from the forthcoming album, plus latest single 'Fluctuate', before the band wrapped up with '7', 'Cocoon' and, of course, 'Tyrants' to close in a truly phenomenal set.
This band are getting bigger and bigger, and doing it the only way they know how. The love for them is simply unanimous and surely football stadiums and a Glastonbury headline slot is what awaits them in the future.
Catfish and the Bottlemen, please never change.
Catfish and the Bottlemen played -
(with outro jam)