You know things are going to get crazy tonight when Frank Carter's got his name to it. First being introduced to the world through UK punk/hardcore heavyweights Gallows, who were considered one of the most dangerous bands on the planet when Carter was fronting them in how frantic he would get onstage (and offstage) being a frenzy of stage diving, architecture climbing and crowd involvement.
Leaving Gallows in 2011 for the more melodic and rock orientated Pure Love, shows with that band would still get wild despite the music being much more at ease. However, Carter abandoned Pure Love and went on to return to aggressive music last year with his new band Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Their debut album 'Blossom' featured much of the pummelling that made Gallows so beloved by punks everywhere, yet featured a layer of melodic-sensibility that Carter developed in Pure Love. Tonight, The Rattlesnakes hit Leeds' sold-out Key Club to solidify Carter's reputation as one of the liveliest performers you can see today.
However, before Carter demolishes The Key Club, Thee MVPs display what they have to offer and that's straight up, uppercut punk which harkens back to the likes of the Ramones and The Buzzcocks with driving, garage riffs and fun, loose and free vocals.
Next up is Dead! who deliver poppy, but punchy rock music with riffs that are both raw and shiny as well as sassy, flamboyant vocals. They're reminiscent of My Chemical Romance in the way they can be so slick, yet have an edge to their music.
From the moment Frank Carter and company hit the stage people are already getting rowdy, slamming into each other and crowd surfing. Opening with 'Trouble', the elastic, but rock hard riffs take a hold of the crowd and whip them into action, whilst Carter is constantly a menacing presence, stomping about and manically shaking whilst shrieking his words.
'Juggernaut' is the most colossal track The Rattlesnakes have to offer with its sledgehammer crush and the defiant refrain of 'even on my own, you can't stop me.' It's almost Carter's mission statement with this band and he delivers it with a heavy dose of venom and full passion, as do fans right back at him. Frank proceeds to walk on the crowd for the bridge of the song and they remain full of motion making it all the more impressive that he's able to stay steady up there. For the harmonious and breezy 'Lullaby', he remains by the ceiling crowdsurfing for the whole song.
Whether it's your first time seeing Frank Carter or you've been watching him pull off these kinds of stunts since the Gallows days, there will never come a day when it's not magic for everyone watching. It's not entirely about Carter though, as guitarist Dean Richardson is seen crowdsurfing and walking on people on more than one occasion, showing how key Carter's backbone is.
Despite this being a very adrenaline fuelled show, one of the best parts of it is also the calmest, but is no less invigorating. Carter has everyone sit on the floor for a stripped back version of 'Beautiful Death', which Carter dedicates to his wife's father as well as anyone who's lost a loved one. It's just Richardson lightly strumming and Carter singing solemnly about losing this person who was close to him and there's nothing but utter respect and awe from the crowd as they hang onto every word and let Carter vent his issues his own way. There's even some people in tears, who clearly relate greatly to the song's theme. It's amazing to see Carter still demolishing stages better than most, but it's equally special to see him pulling off new, unexpected ways to make his shows impactful.
Another unique moment comes they drop a new song 'Modern Ruin' where Carter states that he only wants to see girls stage diving to it, explaining he wants his daughter to grow up in a world where, not only is it considered okay for girls to stage dive, but it's expected of them. He adds that if any males touch the girls inappropriately 'I will choke them with this wire and put their heads on a pike', then one by one girls are immediately, jumping off stage, some of them perhaps for the first time. It's a beautiful moment where everyone feels equal, respected, safe and free to have a great time, and there can never be enough of these times in music.
It's hard to see a time in the future where Frank Carter isn't going to be phenomenal live. He's been one of the best at playing it mental for ten years now and doesn't show the slightest sign of slowing down. With that being said, tonight showed that there's even more to him than just being a wildcard and someone who, despite already having a rich legacy, still has so much to give.
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