LIVE: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes @ O2 Ritz, Manchester (03/12/2017)

Date: December 3rd 2017
Venue: O2 Ritz, Manchester
Support: Ecca Vandal / Basement


With a CV that already boasts once fronting hardcore punks Gallows and hard rockers Pure Love, Frank Carter already garnered a hugely respectable musical pedigree before he went on to form his current project alongside his fellow Rattlesnakes.

This year, their sophomore LP ‘Modern Ruin’ even went on to hit the #7 spot on the UK Albums Chart, bringing ruin to all of the venues and festivals they went through since, and they’re set to do the same again on this final run to see out 2017.

Opening things up is Ecca Vandal [6], who with her backing band hides in very little and stark red light as she strides into her set. It’s noise rock with a slight splash of punk rock here and there for good measure, kind of a blender concoction of Death From Above, Marmozets, and a bit of Be Your Own Pet. There’s a few hooks littered about here and there, though slightly hard to grasp onto, and the overuse of reverb on Vandal‘s vocals at times are little off putting, but there’s definite potential here.

Ipswich’s Basement [7] aren’t overly lively onstage, but their emo tinged grunge rock anthems certainly get the floor bursting with energy and liveliness. ‘Fading’ and ‘Crickets Throw Their Voice’ display the band’s earlier and more rough around the edges work, and Andrew Fisher‘s voice soars across the as he bounces on the spot with raw emotion. ‘Covet’ certainly has a Nirvana vibe to it, especially in a live setting, and it slows things down a little after the mosh pit inducing ‘Spoiled’.

Of course, as expected, the frantic nature of the crowd intensifies and the beads of sweat multiply come the time for the horde that is Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes [9] take to the stage. The more abrasive and less polished work of their debut ‘Blossom’ starts off proceedings, as Carter paces across the stage with a dominating swagger as he screams and yells along to ‘Primary Explosive’ and ‘Trouble’. Carter then casts his black hoodie aside, and climbs into the crowd, standing atop strong whilst they blast through fist pumper ‘Juggernaut’ before he’s gradually passed back to the stage by the crowd beneath him.

It doesn’t take long before Carter lets us all in on a little secret. As a token of gratitude for Manchester being the first date of the tour to sell out, the band are doing the exact same thing planned for the London date to close the run off, by performing every single one of their 23 released songs thus far in one set. ‘Lullaby’ brings an abundance of hooks to sing along to, ‘Acid Veins’ gets a live debut, and at one point Carter takes a little tour backstage, walks up onto the back of the balcony surrounding the stage and O2 Ritz dance floor, and sings alongside the fans hanging out up there.

One of the more drawing and connecting things we have with Carter, and what makes him such an engaging and thrilling frontman is his witty, upfront, yet compassionate nature. He calls out the injustice of how women are often treated at live shows – especially when crowd surfing – and encourages them to get involved in a guaranteed safe space during ‘Wild Flowers’, with a threat to those that he sees go against that by exclaiming he will “rip off your head with his bare hands”, and he stops the song midway through when a member of the crowd collapses, and directs and instructs the fans before him to allow space for them to breathe and be removed by security to be tended to.

Come the end of the set, it seems 23 songs just aren’t enough. With a smile smacked across his face from ear-to-ear when they just have one song left, Carter chuckles and responds back to the crowd literally begging for more, saying “We don’t have anymore. We’ve played everything”, before jumping into playing ‘Fangs’ for a second time this evening.

‘I Hate You’ then draws the curtains on a very special evening, with almost the whole room shouting in a call-to-arms refrain to the fun yet hateful anthem, and, yet again, we’re left reassured that Carter is one of the best frontmen in the game today.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)