Ever since his initial burst onto the scene ten years ago, fronting hardcore punk outfit Gallows, Watford lad Frank Carter quickly became revered as one of the most lively and aggressive vocalists in the genre. A decade later, with a few years of life under his belt, his new project with The Rattlesnakes channels that aggression in equal measure with the hard rock takings of his other former project Pure Love, and ultimately results in Carter at the prime of his career.
Despite starting their set a little later than planned, and as a consequence pushing the rest of the set times for the evening back a bit, Brighton newcomers Yonaka  have a rocky start, but after a song or two really start to come into their own. They sound like Hole if they were fronted by Lana Del Ray, and then raised on a healthy helping of Iggy Pop and Pulled Apart By Horses. Sure, it’s their grittier numbers that are most suited here, but the more pop-driven ‘Bubblegum’ is sharp and catchy.
Harking back to the sound of Carter‘s earlier years, it makes sense to have Strange Bones  as a part of this run, even if in saying that they do sound like Diet Gallows meets Smart Price Royal Blood. The punk rock vibe sounds visceral and exciting to begin with, as frontman Bob Bentham is all over the place, sometimes with a guitar in tow, and sometimes not. It all becomes a little vanilla and one-dimensional quickly though, and an ultimately redundant cover of ‘Spitfire’ by The Prodigy sadly doesn’t help.
Thankfully, one of the UK’s final true punk rockers and his band of merry men, aka Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes , take to the stage to offer one of the best sets that the Academy 2 room in the Manchester Academy has seen in a while. ‘Snake Eyes’ kicks off what turns out to be a whirlwind of sweat, many airborne half empty cups of lager, and circle pit after circle pit.
The primal and more abrasive work from their debut ‘Blossom’ is what seems to get heads banging the most, particularly ‘Fangs’ and ‘Juggernaut’, but by contrast the more radio-friendly cuts of recent album ‘Modern Ruin’, like ‘Wild Flowers’ and ‘Lullaby’, have evidently been built with the live show in mind, and could easily fit comfortably in venues more than twice this size.
However, despite all that, what makes Carter a more interesting prospect live is his good and down to earth nature. Donning a suit from start-to-finish, the red headed delight is nothing but human when attempting (that’s the keyword here) to play guitar and sing ‘Bluebelle’ at the same time, but also offering a heartfelt and sincere speech about ensuring that not only tonight, but all gigs remain a safe place from sexual harassment for female concertgoers; an issue that is regrettably an ongoing and real concern today.
Threatening any who endanger that by “cutting their head off with his bare hands” is so Frank Carter, and so is delivering one of the best sets of the year so far. Two birds, one stone. Bravo, sir.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.