How many people can say they celebrated their birthday with Weezer, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Dreamers? Guessing not many, but the staff at Charlotte’s 106.5 The End can say they did. The Queen City’s New Rock Alternative station turned 22 over the weekend and celebrated with the genre’s giants. While Weezer boasts considerable fan fare, ask any teen pressed up against the barricade two hours before Weezer’s scheduled set time, and they’ll admit they RSVP’d for Dreamers and Catfish and the Bottlemen.
The two opening bands stole the excitement. As Dreamers rolled out onto stage with a slight mist blowing over the amphitheater, fans shouted, “We love you!” Frontman Nick Wold kindly waved back while letting a slight smile slip. The Brooklyn natives haven’t been a band for long – the trio released their debut album in 2016 – but when your music is as infectious as Dreamers, it doesn’t take long to generate a buzz.
The three-piece has toured with the likes of Walk The Moon, Stone Temple Pilots, Bear Hands and most recently The Griswolds. Much like their music, the band holds their crowd’s attention hostage with sublime string-play from Wold and Marc Nelson – they’re more than just a stand-and-strum duo. On the drums, Jacob Lee Wick does enough to attract attention away from his comrades to show off his own skills. Dreamers possess an up-and-coming zeal that plays a key role in their live performance; they’re not afraid to step in front of a few thousand and jam out.
Photos by Jared Allen
Fortunately the rain held off and didn’t dampen the birthday party. However, the diehards in the front row dressed appropriately, fully prepared to brave the storm with the aquatic namesake had the sky opened up. Despite fans’ confessed fanaticism, many arrived at the party for their first Bottlemen experience. Charlotte hasn’t featured in the British indie rock outfit’s tour plans as of late, but evidently fans pushed aside any hard feelings.
The lads casually strolled into the forefront through a red mist that created a silhouette-like appearance for each band member that dressed in black. From “Homesick” to “7,” Catfish and the Bottlemen proved to the U.S. why their music has received such acclaim overseas. Van McCann’s frenetic guitar riffs, lyrics delivered with joy and vigor provided an awe-inspiring spectacle. The frontman danced around the amphitheater, casually moved about his band mates and used the entire stage to his liking. Benji Blakeway and Bondy Bond joined in and moved about in front of the large backdrop displaying the Bottlemen’s emoji-like alligator logo from The Ride.
Throughout, Van remained considerably humble about the amount of fanfare that rolled through the turnstiles in the band’s first visit to the N.C. Music Factory. Enthusiastic whistles and cheers followed each song in the shortened set list and became deafening once the band revealed their final song. On any other night, Catfish and the Bottlemen’s established euphoria would’ve carried into the night. The Brits evidently established continued success in North Carolina’s largest city, but will have to wait until the Bottlemen return to N.C. for a show in Raleigh with Green Day in September.