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Catfish Live Album and DVD Package “Exile – Live in Lockdown” Review

Sometimes you gotta look past the things that tear you down / Just get up and dance and really sing out loud

Award-winning band Catfish, like pretty much every other artist, saw their plans for 2020 turned to dust by the global pandemic.  Ambitious plans they were too – Extensive touring throughout the UK And Europe, perhaps a 4th album to follow on from the success of 2019’s “Burning Bridges” – to consolidate their reputation as one of the hardest working blues rock bands on the circuit and continue to build their ever-growing fanbase.  Instead, after squeezing in a few gigs at the start of the year, everything could have been placed on the backburner since March. 

However, the band have not been idle, Paul and Matt Long have been running regular livestreams on Facebook and YouTube, as well as writing new songs and reworking some old ones.  When the first lockdown eased, the band were invited by Blues Maastricht Festival in Holland to perform a full band live stream. 

Naturally, the band jumped at the chance and, five months since they were all together in the same room, they found themselves at The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes, with a skeleton crew of technicians and no audience, to deliver a live set.   With the decision made not to rehearse, this performance was as raw a live set as you will ever get.  Catfish are releasing the Performance audio along with a DVD of the gig on December 1st through their website.

Despite the challenges of the situation, no rehearsal time, no crowd to bounce energy off (surely one of the most important elements of a live show for artist and audience), Catfish delivered an hour-long set of quality high-octane blues rock, full of emotion and showing that on any day, in any circumstance, Catfish are a band that simply deliver!

The 10 tracks on the CD are mostly taken from their last two albums, 2017’s award-winning “Broken Man” and 2019’s “Burning Bridges”, and songs suit the mood of the current times very well.  The opening track is the epic “Broken Man”, is a brooding epic of a song, that reflects the tone of the times we live in. 

The rest of the tracks take the listener on an emotional journey through failed relationships (“Break Me Down”, “Too far to Fall”), commentary on the state of the music industry (“Soulbreaker”) and the state of the world (“Root of All evil”) and a lament to fallen loved ones (“Archangel”).  Hope and optimism are represented by “The Big Picture” and “Better Days”.  Closing track “Exile”, about dealing with depression and anxiety, is another epic.  Its Goosebumps-inducing opening morphing into a full-on rocker of immense proportions.  

The CD alone is enough to feel the heart with joy, and the DVD adds another dimension totally.  Seeing the band on stage, with full lighting rig and sound setup, experiencing the sheer joy of performing live enhances the experience, reminding those that have seen Catfish live, what an awesome live band they really are.  The DVD Comes with two bonus tracks “Up in Smoke” and “Leading me On”.  Definitely one for the Christmas list!

Catfish are: Matt Long: Guitar & Vocal / Paul Long: Keyboards & Vocal / Adam Pyke: Bass / Kev Hickman: Drums

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Exile – Live in Lockdown” Track Listing

  • 1 Broken Man
  • 2 Break Me Down
  • 3 Ghosts
  • 4 Soulbreaker
  • 5 The Root Of All Evil
  • 6 The Big Picture
  • 7 Better Days
  • 8 Archangel
  • 9 Too Far To Fall
  • 10 Exile

Bonus Tracks (DVD Only)

  • 11 Up In Smoke
  • 12 Leading Me On

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