by Jake McKenzie
photo by Jill Furmanovsky
Both children of Welsh bed-and-breakfast operators, Ryan “Van” McCann and Billy Bibby spent their youth together writing songs in Billy’s North Wales home. But before they could really rock out, Bibby had to teach McCann and bassist Benji Blakeway how to play their instruments. This ragtag group of friends got the word out about their new band by setting up and playing in venue parking lots as passersby left the real concerts. Well before their smash record The Balcony and Billy Bibby’s unexpected departure from the band, The Bottlemen have been known as one of the greatest live acts in modern rock and roll. An album later and with new guitarist Johnny Bond in tow, it’s clear that little has changed. Catfish & The Bottlemen still bring a rip-roaring rock show to any destination they play. And they have the rabid fans to prove it.