Following his top ten follow-up to 2015’s Blossom, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have created a minor revolution. Having devastated pubs, clubs and now arenas around the world in Gallows, Pure Love and now “third time charm” The Rattlesnakes, Carter has demonstrated to anyone and everyone that he is quite probably the world’s best frontman. The Asylum date of the March leg of the Modern Ruin Tour only pushed that notion.
Coming out to a Birmingham crowd buzzing in anticipation seemed to amuse the frontman as he emerged, minutes after his bandmates had begun playing the Snake Eyes opening riff. He played through the song with aplomb without even hints at breaking a sweat despite the heat inside the venue before walking straight through the barrier and onto the bar in order to play the set standing above the crowd more intimately.
The announcement Modern Ruin’s title track came to great excitement of the pit enforcers hyping everyone up around the edge of the circle, yet Frank ordered everyone to pack out the front of the venue in order to allow any women to crowdsurf – a gesture applauded by all. The fear of getting dropped was obviously not present for the numbers of surfers, which is a very good sign of how good the atmosphere is. The audience looked up to The Rattlesnakes’ frontman both literally and metaphorically, and he was in total control to go on how he wanted.
The mid-set interlude came in the shape of a relaxed version of Jackals that played out with a burning calm menace before breaking out into the huge riff of Thunder to continue the madness in suitable style. It was obvious the band had no sense of letting off any of the energy they were channeling into the performance, and this carried through God Is My Friend and Fangs with the same demonic ferocity that makes The Rattlesnakes tick. The main body of the set was brought to an emotional close with the beautiful Neon Rust, with a large part of the audience crying and shouting along with Frank as he put his all into the song. They left the stage with the outro lead playing on a loop pedal for a few minutes until they were ready for more.
As the self-confessed “worst guitarist in the whole room”, it was clear from as soon as Carter walked out alone that Bluebelle would be the track of choice. The song was the only of the twenty-two on the band’s two albums where he has played an instrument and he didn’t disappoint. Opting to let the crowd sing it to focus on the guitar, the vocalist commented the crowd were “cheeky f***ers” for singing quietly to make his playing “more noticeable”. Honestly, it wasn’t well played but that added to the light-hearted atmosphere of the night.
With no break, Dean broke out into Lullaby which got the crowd fully going and pushed into Devil Inside Me with no break. During the bridge, Frank demanded everyone got on the floor and pulled out the 16 bars to closer to 72 to let it build, exploding in pure ferocity when it hit back in again. They then paused for Carter to mention that they “only normally would do one more song now” but they opted for two (as with a lot of the other dates so far on tour, it appears) to do two “because we f***ing can”, much to the audience’s delight. That added track was Paradise, during which Dean and Frank came out headwalking and played the last half of the song on top of the crowd before surfing back to the stage to finish up in the usual style: I Hate You sung at the top of everyone’s lungs.
Overall, a very classy show indeed. Carter remains one of the only people to be able to play a whole set in a full suit in Birmingham’s Asylum, and he did so with great gusto and a suave attitude. The Rattlesnakes are an incredibly dangerous live band and they are only destined to go on the rise from here.