Live: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Rock City – 6/12/17

Opening the show to a largely empty Rock City were Aussie alternative artist Ecca Vandal, who was almost a surprise addition to the lineup with quite how different she is from the other two bands. She and the band played through their electronic-influenced tunes taken largely from her debut self-titled album. A seemingly well-rehearsed machine, Ecca had a huge energy and optimism that would not be broken by the lack of crowd – a quality to be admired in a vocalist. Not a bad set at all, and definitely one that will have gained her some fans. [6/10]

Following up in the middle of the sandwich were Ipswich emo punks Basement who brought with them an instant wave of excitement as they hit the Nottingham stage. With a huge back catalogue to choose a setlist, the band produced a collection of their greatest hits from through their career. The weighting towards previous album Colourmeinkindness was somewhat surprising, but nonetheless the audience were as active through the older songs as the new; the pits weren’t big but they were very active throughout WholeSpoiledAquasun and Covet which got frontman Andrew Fisher into a mixture of humility and excitement as he finishing off their set with new fan favourite Promise EverythingBasement had set up headliners The Rattlesnakes immaculately well with a set as fantastic as usual. [9/10]

Closing up the night were Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes who had high hopes resting on their performance from the raving crowd. Carter is known as one of the best frontmen around, and the set did not disappoint; this whole tour was to celebrate where they are now as a band with Manchester and Brixton’s stops receiving a performance of all 23 songs to date. In Nottingham, the band pulled out a modest 19 – missing only Beautiful Death and Trouble from debut album Blossom, and opener/closer pairing Bluebelle and Neon Rust from this year’s Modern Ruin.

Exploding onto the stage somewhat fittingly with Primary Explosive, the energy in the room just lifted on seeing the long-term punk talisman set foot on the stage. The first section of the set played out non-stop BlossomRotten BlossomFangs and Juggernaut providing a reminder of just how riff-driven the band were from the very start, contrasting with the riff-vocal balance in the following VampiresWild Flowers had Frank asking for all the women in the audience to crowdsurf and urged everyone to keep them safe so they could experience it safely just as he has in most of his shows this year, which ended up leading to a stageful of ladies dancing with him and singing their lungs out – their faces just summed up the event as a whole.

Acid Veins and new single Spray Paint Love made their first outings on this tour and the Nottingham set contained both, performed with the swing and swagger they deserve from the very roots of the song. A crowd-surfing Frank and Dean both finished Jackals atop the moshing sea of people before the frontman made his way up to the balcony for the title track of the latest album. More crowdsurfing, an accidentally-stolen GoPro and a piano version of Loss later, the rollercoaster of emotion wasn’t near winding down as the band dedicated Thunder and Paradise to victims of terrorist attacks at musical events, citing the songs as chapter one and the epilogue of the same story in the fight against terrorism.

The Rattlesnakes finished their set off with a glorious rendition of I Hate You which was dedicated to a fan who had been punched in the face by someone nearby, who was rapidly ejected from the venue.  Thanking the crowd, Frank left the stage with a tangible mood in the air of the excitement and cathartic nature of the set that had just gone – a fitting feeling for the night. [10/10]

For those interested, The Rattlesnakes had taken her and a friend backstage, taken a photo with her and had a long chat – a class gesture to end a fantastic night from one of the best British bands of modern times.

Frank Carter 2017 tour rattlesnakes

Live: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes – Asylum, Birmingham 25/3/17

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.