Cerys and co. warm up for T In The Park and come out blazing with new material...
So it’s come to this. Have Catatonia moved so far from the underground that not only does the PA spout Boyzone before they some on, but half the audience sing along? Crowd-spotting’s always an enlightening experience and if Catatonia had expected the ‘fan-club’ affair that had been widely advertised, then the fact that they’d become the pawn in a ‘getting down with the kids’ battle between local radio stations might have come as something of a surprise.
So, much of tonight’s crowd are competition winners, hence the odd suit,
here for the free beer as much as anything, and some older faces – perhaps even parents of the kids in attendance – for whom the mention of Tom Jones might not suggest Tommy out ofSpace. However, down the front are packed the hardcore fans; mainly teenage and female – Cerys Matthews seems to be something of a role model for young women and if nothing else she’s redressed the balance in the predominantly male activity of gig-going.
Warming up for their T In The Park slot, the band launch into ‘I Am The Mob’ and all thoughts of boy bands are forgotten. They’re also testing out the new album ‘Paper, Scissors, Stone’ and this audience are willing guinea pigs, the tourist set at the back even refraining from chatting through the non-hits, of which there are many – the band perhaps relying on the good nature of the fans in the crowd to
take them through an unprecedented 5-in-a-row of unfamiliar material.
The new stuff is largely more of the same – ‘Stone By Stone’ is synth-driven and features shouty backing vocals while ‘Village Idiots’ has some rather unnecessary wah-wah applied to the guitar. Whether there’s another sing-along hit (literally, as Cerys forgets the words) to match ‘Mulder And Scully’ or the closing ‘Road Rage’ is another matter but such is the engaging performance – both band and audience happy to be in each other’s company – that the Catatonia fanclub might well have gained a few new members.