Frank Carter @ 02 Academy, 2 December, 2017

Tonight I visited the 02 Academy Birmingham for one of the best live acts around at the moment;  Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

Known far and wide for his onstage presence and eccentric personality, the former Gallows frontman loves interaction with the fans at his shows and when I saw them at 2000 Trees Fest he even stopped halfway though his set to walk out into the crowd and break up a fight.

Arriving just in time for the main support in Basement, I found their emo/grunge rock combination quite interesting. Suprisingly they played 4 songs from the earlier release ‘Colourmeinkindness’ (2012) and 3 from their latest ‘Promise Everything’ (2016); perhaps taking into account the headliner and tailoring the setlist with more of punk vibe; ‘Covet’ with the screamy nature and ‘Spoiled’ with the big punky riffs.

Playing ‘Fading’ early on was a good choice, the pop-punk-with-a-bite nature giving the crowd some energy to move about abit; comparable to Gnarwolves; but my favourite song happened to be ‘Aquasun’ which was more Nirvana; an infectious sad/nostalgic vibe.

The banner on the back of the stage which read Basement was removed and Frank’s banner remained. Cheers were heard from the crowd and a large portion of the room stocked up on beers. Tonight the band play a colossal 17 songs, 9 from ‘Modern Ruin’ (2017)and 7 from ‘Blossom’ (2015), with one single ‘Spray Paint Love’ (2017).

The house music dies and the crowd erupts again, the atmosphere is already rocking. A loud drum begins to bang, anticipation rises as Frank makes his way onto the stage sporting a black hoodie covering his face. ‘Primary Explosive’ kicks in and all members of the band go crazy, jumping around to the intro with flashy, lightning-esque lighting. ‘Fangs’ saw a change in lighting with the backlights all pointing upwards.

‘Juggernaut’ saw Frank stand on the barrier and enter the crowd for the first time, pulling off a handstand. He really does make it look easy and everyone is loving it. It’s captivating stuff to be in a room when he’s playing.  He took time to explain that everyone is welcome at a Frank Carter gig, no matter what race, religion or sexual orientation. ‘Were all here to have a good time’.

Frank explains how he wrote ‘Loss’ at a time in his life where he felt like he’d lost everything important to him. In recovering from this state of mind his relationship with the song had changed and instead of singing it with anger; they began performing it slower and with more coherence. You know it’s a Frank Carter gig when an acoustic song is greeted with a sea of crowdsurfers; what a spectacle.

‘Paradise’; a song that critisizes the idea of ‘paradise’, noting all the things wrong with the world such as terrorism and gun crime, gave guitarist Dean Richardson an opportunity to stand in the crowd and play a solo, his silhoutte backlit with the crowds arms surrounding his legs having a strong horror movie feel to it. At this point I noticed another silhoutte; a fan crowdsurfing with an open umbrella in the air. I honestly can’t pick any moment of this gig where the first half of the room hasn’t just been legs and arms flying through the air.

‘Devil Inside Me’ was my favourite song of the night, the band looking more and more like At The Drive In as we go along. They have the crowd in the palm of their hand and are giving everything; the craziness just keeps building and building. The orange backlights here gave this part of the set a stadium feel to it; the song was shrieked out passionately by Frank and the cheer at the end matched the commitment of the band. Phenomenal.

A Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes gig isn’t just a great gig. It’s a triumph of live music itself. His music isn’t about forgetting about all your problems or even all the problems in the world; it’s about accepting them and shouting about them within the company of several hundred other people who feel the same. What a night.

Reviewer: Neale Hayes

Photographer: Andy Watson

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