Five times UK Blues Award winners Catfish, like most bands, have had a difficult couple of years dealing with covid restrictions, working when they could playing to restricted audiences, rescheduling gigs and tours and trying to keep their sanity in the meantime!
Over lockdown in the summer of 2020, they were one of the first bands to do a full electric band live stream. This was produced for Blues Maastricht festival in the Netherlands where they had played the previous year and was streamed across Europe in July 2020. On the day of the performance, which came from the Craufurd Arms near Milton Keynes, the guys hadn’t even seen each other for five months let alone rehearsed. However, after a very quick sound check they went straight in for the live stream. Lots of energy on that stage that day – the excitement of playing together after such a long break was tangible and they played their proverbial socks off – no audience to feed off, just a technical team of about half a dozen dealing with the sound and video. The end result was so good that they decided to turn it into a live album and DVD, which became ‘Exile – Live in Lockdown’, released in the December of 2020. A live album with no audience?? Very much a sign of the times we were in…and as a bonus the album was nominated in the UK Blues Awards for 2021 as album of the year.
Another option which many bands took to over lockdown as a means of keeping in contact with their fan base was acoustic live streaming from home. As Paul the keyboard player/vocalist and Matt the guitarist/vocalist are father and son and were living in the same house for most of lockdown, the majority of Catfish’s live streams were done as a duo from their home studio in Sussex. Although some of the material was covers of songs they both love, much was the reinvention of their own material, stripping songs back to the bare bones, transforming blues rock epics into an acoustic format. Some of these worked really well and drew your attention to the lyrics, so the band decided to record an EP of the ‘best bits’ from the streams – four tracks of their own originals and one cover, Elton John’s classic ‘Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word’. They had so much positive feedback on the stream when they first played this track that they felt they had to include it on the EP – it is a song both Paul and Matt love and it shows in the performance.
The acoustic EP, ‘Bound for Better Days’ will be officially released on Friday 10 June 2022 at Temperance in Leamington Spa with further dates to be confirmed.