Festival Review: All Points East – Catfish & The Bottlemen

All Points East – Catfish & The Bottlemen

Words: Luke Pettican

After a triumphant first weekend featuring the likes of The XX, Lorde and LCD Sound System, expectations were high for the return to music at Victoria Park after five days of community events. As the doors opened at 2PM, a surprisingly beautiful orchestral remix of Not Nineteen Forever descended from the aptly named X Stage.

Walking through the spacious and expertly laid-out site was delightful and was only improved by the fact that the anticipated rain was replaced by delightful British sunshine.

Brighton’s The Magic Gang mastered their early afternoon slot on the festivals’ main stage. Their set was practically over-flowing with unequalled indie-pop anthems. With such effortlessly catchy choruses coupled with earnest enthusiasm, it’s no surprise that the band had the crowd in the palm of their hands. ‘All This Way’ and their trademark tune ‘How Can I Compete’ were definite highlights of their scintillating set.

Thanks to the sites’ well-thought-out layout it was only a short walk through the beautiful setting of Victoria Park to the Firestone Stage to catch Indie quartet Sea Girls. Drawing a crowd that had obviously exceeded organisers expectations, Sea Girls powered through a collection of radiant sing-along bangers. Newest release ‘Too Much Fun’ ignited a frenzied fury mid-set and was followed by their track ‘Adored’, due for release on the 5th of June.

After descending in the crowd to join the mosh-pit for Adored, lead singer Henry Camamile to proclaimed, ‘I think that’s the Adored we’ve done’. It’ll certainly be hard for them to top it. The band then played ‘Eat Me Whole’, fan favourite Call Me Out’ before a triumphant finish with ‘Heavenly War’. It’s evident that when festival seasons comes around next year, they’ll undoubtedly be playing much higher up the bill.

In their first UK show since February, The Amazons brought their arsenal of sing-along tunes to the main stage. Stay with Me provided a bombastic opening to their set with ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Junk Food Forever’ providing a stunning ending to their energy-infused set. ‘Black Magic, in particular, whipped the crowd up into a set of hysteria, a glimpse of what was in store later in the evening.

Next up on the main stage in a rare UK appearance was California alternative rockers The Neighbourhood. The band opened up their set with Prey, which is driven by a beachy fuzzy guitar riff. The track evolves as the bass comes in producing an intoxicating beat to complement frontman Jesse Rutherford smooth tenor.

Even a quick glimpse around the audience displayed the undying devotion of band’s fanbase. The Neighbourhood’s records feel like they’re crafted for solitary sonic pleasure but in this rare appearance in London their music brought fans together.

The crowd’s enthusiasm peaked as the band smashed a performance of their inescapable track ‘Sweater Weather’. ‘R.I.P 2 My Youth’ and ‘Daddy Issues’ also made an appearance towards the end of their set but hits such as ‘Cry Baby’ were sorely missed. Nevertheless, this American band managed to thrill and amaze on a bill otherwise dominated by British talent.

Fresh from the release of their sophomore effort Blossoms kicked off their barnstorming set with new singles ‘There’s a Reason Why’ and ‘I Can’t Stand It’. Fans greeted these tracks with such enthusiasm that you would think these songs had been adored and coveted by fans for years.

Throughout the rest of their set, the five-piece effortlessly intertwined tracks from their self-titled debut and their new release ‘Cool Like You’. Frontman Tom Ogden stood solo for ‘My Favourite Room’ prompting a mass sing-along to this heart-breaking tune. Finishing with stand-out singles ‘Getaway’ and ‘Charlemagne’, it’s evident that the band are masters of crafting an enchanting, engaging set list.

As night began to loom, it was time for Catfish & The Bottlemen to descend on Victoria Park. Opening with their Homesick, the first track on their debut, Catfish brought an insane amount of energy to the stage which the crowd more than returned.

Accompanied by a killer light show, in their 18-song set the band managed to storm through most of the tracks on both their debut and sophomore releases. The only surprise addition was the unreleased track ‘Fluctuate’, giving fans a glimpse of what to expect from the band’s third album. This bass-laden track showcased a more resentful impassioned side to the Welsh four-piece and seemed to whip fans into a ravenous frenzy.

Closing the night with ‘Tyrants’ was perhaps an odd choice with the preceding tracks ‘Cocoon’ and ‘7’ engaging the crowd endlessly more. Even considering some questionable setlist ordering and far too many stage black-outs between songs, the band still provided an energy-laden, yet somewhat formulaic, set which their adoring fans lapped up.

All in all, the combination of excellent music and respectful impassioned crowds made the Friday of All Points East an unmissable event showcasing the best of British talent. Most excitingly, astounding sets from both Blossoms and Sea Girls proves the drought of future British festival headliners is finally coming to an end. With such seamless organisation and an expertly crafted bill of bands, we can’t wait for All Points East to return next year.


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