Gareth Behn went along to Bristol’s Fleece to catch punk outfit Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes, whose debut album Blossom is released August this year.
Given Frank Carter’s reputation for his live performance, it was easy to foresee the dangerously positioned columns of Bristol Fleece seeing a lot of action during this gig. And action they saw.
Just not during the opening set by Loom. The Leamington Spa grunge outfit failed to inspire any reaction from the crowd, despite frontman Tarik Badwan’s impressive front-flipping off the stage, combined with running into members of the crowd, which had no effect on the seemingly comatose audience, most of whom were still holding drinks. To be fair to them, it was painfully obvious that the crowd were there to see the headline act, which unfortunately bore out during the second set.
A very promising grunge band, Milk Teeth drew inspiration from grunge-greats such as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, it was very encouraging to see some crowd participation, but it still fell way below what they deserved. Playing a hometown gig, Milk Teeth’s set was tight, energetic and riveting, with particularly impressive performances by guitarist/vocalist Josh Bannister, whose emotional deliverance was captivating, and drummer Olly Holbrook, one of the craziest drummers I’ve ever seen, smashing his head with his fists in every interval. ‘Bagels’, from their latest record Sad Sack was a particular highlight, as Josh showcased his impressive vocals. In true grunge/ punk form, the band only left the stage after smashing a cymbal and various microphones.
Frank returned from a year-long hiatus from music with a triumphant bang. True to form, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes delivered a hard-hitting, angry and yet emotional set, which elicited near-delirium from the crowd. Their debut EP Rotten is heroically good, each song more raw and more angry than the last. Frank has retained his fierce individualism, and boy does it make for a good show. Despite having only three songs released, something that Frank apologised for, (“You’ve come to see a band with only three songs you mad fuckers!” Frank screamed as he entered the stage), their set was filled with hardcore punk music, all perfectly executed by an incredibly talented set of musicians, making for a very tight set.
Frank’s live performance also surpassed expectations, delivering anger, comedy and emotion in equal measures. The sight of Frank stuck on a flimsy sheet of metal between two columns, ten foot high, having crowd-surfed his way there, provoked general hilarity, and only served to increase the bond between performer and audience. Conversely, but achieving the same effect, the normally chirpy frontman was reduced to tears during the chorus of ‘Loss’, rendering him unable to continue the song. It really was a very emotional moment, as Frank showed just how much being a musician means to him. After recovering, they rounded off the set with ‘I Hate You, and walked off as the crowd continued the chorus, “I hate you, and I wish you would die”.