Gig Review: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes @ O2 Insititue, Birmingham

By Oliver Butler (@notoliverbutler)

Picture Credit: Daniel Curtis

Picture the scene: you’re packed in tight, already breaking a sweat as there’s beer in the air, people using their elbows to push past you to get forwards. Unfortunately, I was a million miles away from seeing Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and instead was in a very busy pub before the gig. No idea what everyone else was going to see, but it can’t have been as exciting as what was in store.

After the stress & length of this year, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that Modern RuinFC&TR‘s second offering is less than a year old, but here we are. I guess when you have the ferris wheel of a news cycle we have these days, things get lost in the ether. But especially for these guys, it’s been a rollercoaster of a year, with droves & droves of gigs & festival appearances, a new, blistering, single called Spray Paint Love, a few cancelled gigs too as wild-eyed frontman Frank Carter took some time off to put himself back together, ‘better than ever before‘ in his own words. The verdict?

Better than ever before.

Opening the set with Primary Explosive, the packed to the rafters O2 Institute rattled (HA, GEDDIT?!) as the crowd jumped, stomped & cheered their heroes onto the stage. Shout out to Frank Carter for coming onto the stage in a hoodie, jacket & a shirt, there’s wrapping up warm and then there’s turning yourself into a human boil in the bag meal. The sunglasses masked the mischevious glint that lives in his eye, but with Frank Carter, mischief is but a crowd surf away…

Despite being a few songs in, Juggernaut was a definite highlight of the set; everyone got stuck in, safely, fairly and heartily into the moshpit, but they need to sort the floor out – it’s too fucking slippy & someone’s really going to get hurt one day. My memory is hazy, but I’m pretty sure during this Frank got into the crowd, crowd surfed and did a handstand in the middle of it: athleticism. They also played the best song of 2017, which, you guessed it sports fans, was Vampires. I’d say Modern Ruin is definitely up there as one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, do you agree? Tell me and I’ll edit any Best Album lists to put Modern Ruin squarely at the top. You like punk rock? That’s punk as fuck.

Wild Flowers also gave a chance for the girls to crowd surf, which is one thing I really enjoy about FC&TR gigs, especially to hear the crowd go wild as we all agree to the wild concept of not grabbing girls without their consent. Shame it’s actually a cheerable thing in 2017, but the fact Frank Carter champions safe spaces for women at gigs makes him a hero on that merit alone, however, there’s more to the man that makes him one of the most exciting frontmen in rock.

Another big song, but the crowd reaction was a bit mixed, was Spray Paint Love. Ever since Dean Richardson’s guitar growled into the first bar of that song, I’ve been enamoured with it. Rattlesnakes, if you are reading this, write more of these. Fair enough for the mixed crowd reaction as it’s a new track, but hopefully that’ll inspire them to play it on repeat whilst lighting candles in my Dean shrine on a daily basis. Hell of a guitarist. Tom Barclay uses the same amps as me too, so really, this whole band gets a big fucking seal of approval.

A slightly acoustic version of Loss off Blossom was also huge, really added a layer of emotional depth to it. I’d love to hear a proper, fully recorded version of that. The hard and heavy studio version is great, but this piano and soft guitar version is a whole ‘nother level of sad gravy. It was a Modern Ruin buffet after this, with Thunder, Jackals God is My Friend rolling together in one bundle of manic energy, but the real crescendo of this piece was the title track.

Frank Carter, as Frank Carter does, went for a bit of a crowd surf. However, he’s no fool and noticed that the seating in the Institute is quite low. Surfing his way to the seating, he climbs onto the balcony, much to the excitement of everyone who’s in the seats, sings Modern Ruin through the crowd and at the end, well, what goes up must come down right? Frank Carter launches himself into the crowd from the balcony, but fortunately, we all love him, so we caught him. He’s genuinely one of the most exciting frontmen out there today, largely because that glint in his eyes leads to all sorts of things.

You wanna talk encores as well? How about an encore that has Devil Inside Me, Snake Eyes Lullaby? But wait! There’s more! What better way to show your appreciation for your fans, and your fans of the band than to sing a song about how much you hate someone? The biggest irony is how much everyone loves singing I Hate You. Despite the fact we were all screaming about how much we hated each other, you could see it in the faces of the fans & the band how much this all meant. Just three years after they got together, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are on their way to bigger & better places, keeping the same punk rock values and air of mischief that makes them so exciting.