It’s mid September and getting autumnal, but that doesn’t stop London’s Camden from thriving day and night. It’s late by the time I get here, but Billy Bibby (former Catfish and the Bottlemen Writer and Guitarist) isn’t due on stage until after midnight. He’s playing the same stage he did years before with his former bandmates at The Jubilee Club in The Barfly.
Waiting for Billy to Arrive on stage, the Barfly’s indie and rock night club can be heard as much as felt through the floor and the atmosphere is amazing. While the venue is well under capacity tonight, the crowd give Billy a warm welcome to the stage at 00:45. Before kicking off with ‘Girl’, he apologises for playing acoustically at this hour, but the crowd doesn’t care a bit. His set is short at 30 minutes, but his solo material is well received and he fills a gap by performing Catfish’s ‘Pacifier’ which he announces with “You might recognise this one from my previous band”. The stripped back, acoustic version of ‘Pacifier’ has a new, intimate and upbeat quality performed by Billy alone and his vocal performance full of reverb fills out the part beautifully. This is true of all of his songs and the real stand out track for me was the catchy ‘This Kind of Summer’.
His performance is humble and heartfelt, yet you can tell he’s on a singular minded mission to get his new material out there. His songs are excellently crafted and performed as you would expect bolstered by astoundingly good vocals in spite of his guitar driven background. He jokingly dedicates his final song to a couple of mohican toting punks in the middle of the crowd who in spite of their obvious musical preference, are far from hiding their enjoyment of Billy’s set. Others yell “We Love You Billy!” as he finishes up and he takes their compliments graciously. After the set he enjoys a pint and a chat at the bar with a few people from the crowd.
I reckon there may be more hits for Billy ahead and he is gigging extensively right now with new dates being announced regularly. I would highly recommend going to see him locally when the opportunity arises and as his repertoire expands. I will not be passing up the chance the next time he’s passing through my way.