There are few stronger feelings than the anticipation before a headline act takes the stage of a sold out venue, in this case the anticipation was built to an almost unbearable level. This is the theatre of Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes and every moment is considered to the finest detail, they are more than a live band, this is a performance and Frank Carter is most definitely the leading man.
Support acts Dead and The MVPS took the stage and suitably warmed up the crowd but it would almost be unfair to pass judgement on either, both had their merits and were full of energy but as you will see as you read on there are few that can stand up to FCATR. On another bill both of these bands would have the stage to win over an audience with their accomplished performances.
The show starts in front of a sold out room much like every single date of this headline run, before a note is played anticipation and body heat are high helped by Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come playing through the PA and the lights gently lowering. The theatre starts with The Rattlesnakes taking the stage and building the set opener up into a huge wall of noise before Frank takes the stage, introduces himself and bursts into a furious flurry to open the show. Limbs fly, drinks spill and the crowd start to spill over the barrier one by one, this is one hell of a first three songs. The furious set list continues at a Blink and you’ll miss it pace and after a brief introduction Frank is on top of the crowd for the duration of current release ‘Lullaby’. He directs his way around the room and the set has really kicked off. And stop!
Frank Carter reminds the audience he is in control and this is his party, he sits the entire room down and after a moving introduction he asks for three minutes of quiet. Backed only by guitar he slays the audience with ‘A Beautiful Death’, tear ducts fill and for three minutes the audience stand united in emoting. Normal service is resumed as ‘Jackal’ is played at such ferocity the heat in the room rises to an almost unbearable level, this may have been the most intense sixty seconds I have ever witnessed. The combination of hits, new cuts and at times boastful stage patter create an all-round live master class and it is clear that Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes are at the top of their game, and with the release of LP number 2 they are going to continue to up their game.
In between songs there are moments where the controversial and antagonistic side most associated with Frank’s time in Gallows comes out. This creates contrast with the humble man that stands before the audience the rest of the time. There are also some important comments on shows being a safe place for everyone and feminism/equality is tackled in a concise and relatable fashion, along with some tongue in cheek safety tips and a genuine respect for all the venue staff.
As the band leave the stage in a sea of feedback the theatre continues, after a few minutes of feedback the anticipation is slowly creeping towards irritation and just as the sound is becoming unbearable they are back. The feedback melts away into a furious encore and the show ends with a sold out room providing backing vocals for ‘I Hate You’ a spine-tingling moment which will live long in the memory of everyone present.
There are few bands that have achieved as much as Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes have in just over a year and watching them live shows how deserved this is. They are ferocious, controversial and most of all incredible musicians. Frank Carter may be uncomfortable with this description but he is undoubtable a modern icon, his fire cracker charisma probably makes him the best frontman in the UK right now!
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes head back out on tour in March and this may be the last time they can be seen in intimate venues!
Thu March 16 2017 – NORWICH Waterfront
Fri March 17 2017 – MANCHESTER Academy 2
Sat March 18 2017 – NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE Riverside
Sun March 19 2017 – GLASGOW St Lukes
Tue March 21 2017 – BELFAST Oh Yeah music Centre
Wed March 22 2017 – DUBLIN Academy 2
Fri March 24 2017 – LEEDS Stylus
Sat March 25 2017 – BIRMINGHAM Asylum
Sun March 26 2017 – CARDIFF Globe
Mon March 27 2017 – EXETER Phoenix
Wed March 29 2017 – PORTSMOUTH Wedgewood Rooms
Thu March 30 2017 – LONDON KOKO