Catholic Action arrived in Southampton for last Tuesday night’s gig at Heartbreakers after a mammoth journey from Texas, via Glasgow. A lot of effort to play for what was a small crowd of about forty of their most hardened fans.
For those of you who don’t know, Catholic Action are a 4-piece band from Glasgow made up of vocalist/guitarist Chris McCrory (formally of the band Casual Sex), drummer Ryan Clark, bassist Jamie Dubber and lead guitarist, Andrew Macpherson. Their debut album, In Memory Of was released in October 2017 with some weighty expectation as they are considered to be Glasgow’s band of the moment and for me they didn’t disappoint. I’ve been listening to the album a lot over the last few months. It’s bouncy, melodic and very well produced, it’s an album that’s easy on the ears but yet packs a punch.
As I eluded to earlier, Catholic Action had recently been in Texas performing at SXSW Festival. This saw them take to the stage six times in five days amongst the who’s who of the music industry via showcases that are put on by record labels, management, agencies PR firms etc for artists looking to reach as bigger audience as possible. Speaking to Ryan at the end of the gig, he described how playing so many gigs and having to carrying his kit around had taken its toll on him with his hand resembling a claw-like position for a number of days. Also, the jet lag had kicked in by 4 am on Sunday and that Monday was spent in Glasgow before travelling to Southampton on Tuesday morning, sharing the driving duties with Jamie whilst Chris just read his book in the back!
It was the first time that I had been to the Heartbreakers, to my surprise it was a lot smaller than I anticipated. This provided a good setting for the evening, as the gig was going to be up, close and personal. The band started with ‘Doing Well’ from the album following this up with the single ‘Rita Ora’ which is written about the lady herself and if you believe Chris, a song that she is a big fan of. The mid-set was made up of ‘Black & White’ and ‘Breakfast’ with its meandering guitar solo.
There was some good banter throughout from Chris, including asking if anyone knew his dear friend and musician, Seth, who just happened to be the only person Chris knew from Southampton. Further crowd interaction followed before the B side of the first single ‘The Wash’ was played as (according to Chris) ‘if you knew this song then you knew the band when they were s@*t and were probably lying.’
As there was only about 40-ish people in the crowd it was also very quiet in parts, with the band likening it to a gig that they played in venue called Electric Church at SXSW, as there was about twenty for that show and by the end of the gig the band were on first name terms with them all including the barman!
The album opener ‘L.U.V.‘ was saved to close the set with and it’s easy to see why with its effortless catchy rhythm.
It’s also worth mentioning that Catholic Action were being supported by two local bands by the name of Minister and Shy Boy. I was quite impressed by the set that Minister played, it was a bit rough around the edges but with plenty of promise for the future, the fact their sounds created a mini mosh pit at the front of the stage can only be a good thing!