The fun of Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes started at four o’clock in the afternoon with a soundcheck in an empty Rock City except for the skeleton crew and a selected number of competition winners. Frank had been suffering with tonsillitis before the tour and it had come back with a vengeance but that didn’t stop him jumping around the stage for ‘Wild Flowers’ to impress those of us there.
When the soundcheck was done and everything was in place, the five-piece punk rock band came up to meet us on the balcony and shared their excitement about their sold-out Rock City headlining show that night. Gareth Grover, the bands drummer, said he has really enjoyed their tour so far, especially as every night that they had played had sold out and this was the longest set they’ve done and the crowd reaction has been phenomenal. Bass guitarist and synth player Thomas Mitchener also commented on how different their venue shows are compared to the massive festivals that they’ve been playing over the summer, and that we would be in for a mad one.
After some quick photos, it was time to wait until doors opened. Unusually, a woman dressed in a sailor’s costume was handing out free drinks tickets for Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum- the sponsors of the event, so the night started unexpectedly well with a delicious beverage!
First up was Ecca Vandal who got the crowd worked up as the venue filled up. It felt almost like a surprise performance as it wasn’t mentioned anywhere that the Australian would be performing, but her intense party anthems went down well.
Next up was Ipswich band Basement, who a surprisingly large amount of the crowd had come specifically to see. This bands following is rightly deserved with their punk rock, energetic music inspiring a mosh pit that was already covering half of the Rock City dancefloor. When they finished there was a noticeable buzz in the crowd of excitement.
Finally, it was time for Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes to take the stage. You wouldn’t know from the way he swaggered on to the stage that he was suffering, and as ‘Primary Explosive’ played out, the crowd went mental and the crowd surfing that would last the entire night began. The show was manic, and Frank spent most of his time amongst the crowd, making it all the way onto the Rock City balcony at one point. During ‘Wildflowers’ he encouraged all the women in the venue to crowd surf to the front while security then helped them onto the stage, and the set closed with ‘Paradise’ with Frank, lead guitarist Dean Richardson, and manager Matthew Greer surfing the crowd in a messy jumble, but still managing to finish the song perfectly.
The crowd wasn’t satisfied with this finish and demanded an encore, so the guys came back and performed ‘Devil inside me’, ‘Snake eyes’ and ‘Lullaby’ before thanking the venue staff, security, and the crowd for being amazing. After noticing a girl at the front in distress from being “punched in the face” Frank decided to bring her up onto stage and so as not to let a bad experience ruin the crowd, he dedicated final song ‘I hate you’ to the bloke that had caused the incident.
Overall, the night was insane and filled with so much energy and emotion from both the crowd and the band. It was a truly unforgettable night, and having just announced that they will be supporting Foo Fighters on their tour next year, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes are going to continue to make an explosion in the punk rock music scene.
Photo Courtesy of James A. Grant