Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

– THE STAR & GARTER, MANCHESTER –

Frank Carter’s career has been quite the roller coaster. Frank first came to a lot of people’s attention just over a decade ago as front man of Gallows. Gallows were the most ferocious hardcore bands of the time with Frank being one of the most tenacious and exciting frontmen you’d ever hope to see. Sadly after their major label second album, Frank decided to leave Gallows but not long afterwards was fronting new band, Pure Love. As their title suggests, these guys went in a different direction to Frank’s previous band and wrote infectious rock songs with plenty of pop sensibilities. It turned out Pure Love’s time with us was brief as the band decided to call it a day after one album and a few EPs. This leads us up to present day where Frank is back making angry punk rock again along with his backing back The Rattlesnakes. Exploding back into our lives earlier this year with the brutal riffage of ‘Fangs’, The Rattlesnakes have not stopped, releasing their ripping debut album Blossom in August and touring around the UK and Europe in support of it.

Tonight, we’re at one of Manchester’s live music institutions The Star & Garter as The Rattlesnakes play their second sold out night at the venue as part of a full UK headline tour. I had the pleasure of catching the band on their last tour at this very venue just as they’d released Rotten, a three track sampler EP of the album, and it went off! So now the album has been out for a few months I’m expecting the roof to be ripped off tonight.

Before we get to that, we have two support slots. Opening up are Creeper, who are probably one of the most talked about bands in the UK right now. I arrive just as they finish recent single ‘The Honeymoon Suite’, which has been in my head for days now. These guys make fist-pumping punk rock with massive choruses and every track has this really anthemic quality to them. I also like how they all wear a back patch of their recent EP cover on their jackets, it feels like they take pride in their image and I really dig the gang-like mentality of it all. Creeper are definitely living up to the hype. ¬†Main support comes from a London based hardcore band called Black Hole. These dudes certainty get the crowd pumped up with mosh pits starting up just a few tunes in their set. It’s alll chunky riffs, fearless vocals and some nice, pit-friendly breakdowns. A solid set of hardcore-punk and a strong warm up for tonight’s headliners.

Frank Carter

Frank Carter

“My name is Frank Carter and these are the Rattlesnakes, lets have some fun”, and with that, we are off! The first half of the room erupt into a mosh pit frenzy as the other half of the room hang bang viciously to opener ‘Paradise’. The band hardly take a breath from there as they tear through tracks like ‘Loss’ and ‘Trouble’ with the upmost intensity and power; Frank stamps around the stage ready to put a hole through it as guitarist Dean stares out the crowd, attempting to melt the room with his earth shaking riffs.

When I last saw Frank he played a stripped back rendition of the track ‘Loss’ which appeared on the Rotten EP. I remember it being a tough thing to watch as Frank put everything into singing the song which deals with the passing of his Father-in-law. Tonight, he plays the rendition again and gets through it really well. But, after this he plays the track ‘Beautiful Death’ which deals with loss and suffering even further. The house lights are shut off, Frank asks the crowd to sit down and light him with his camera phones and he stands in the middle of the room and sings the track as Dean quiet strums to accompany him. Frank gets through the song but I can see his tears and it’s another very moving performance. I’ve heard people speculate that its all just a stage act but when finishing the track, Frank wipes his face and tells the room that he sometimes can get through playing it without breaking down and sometimes he can’t. I have no doubt that this was a real and true performance and I imagine that every night depending on the space and the crowd evokes a different reaction and emotion.

You can tell that it’s knocked back Frank as he doesn’t quite get back into full on front man mode until the monster riff of ‘Juggernaught’ kicks in. For the last few tunes, the drum kits appears in the crowd and the rest of the band go in whilst Frank remains on stage, which is something I haven’t seen before as its usually the fontman who goes straight in the crowd. As they go into closer ‘I Hate You’, Frank asks everyone to go up with him which is a crazy thing to see the band are on the floor and the crowd are on stage. Although I’m not massively into the bluesy grooves on this track, particularly in context to how gnarly the rest of the record is, it’s still a big sing-along track that does conclude the set rather well.

It’s always a pleasure to see Frank who is just a truly engaging front man. His voice has never sounded so good, with a strong mix of clean and screamed vocals throughout the set. And with a incredibly solid backing band in The Rattlesnakes behind him, Carter has never seemed to fearless. Blistering, emotional, entertaining.

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Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.