“If I give you two warnings, you better fucking listen,” Frank Carter snarls at one persistently over-eager fan down the front row. It’s an intimate message but one that could easily be meant for the world at large. After turns fronting Gallows and Pure Love tonight sees Frank Carter, alongside The Rattlesnakes, take to The Borderline in London for a bit of a knees up to celebrate the launch of their first record ‘Blossom’. As you would expect, it’s chaos from the off.
Even Creeper, who’ve spent the past few months glittering on festival stages, have an air of grit about them tonight. It’s a look that suits them. ‘VCR’ seems more urgent, ‘Novena’ is stretched until the edges begin to fray and ‘Lie Awake’ continues to grow in presence every time it’s unleashed. The band seem to relish the obstacles before them and command the borrowed stage with the sort of growling ownership that makes them a natural choice to sit on this evening’s bill.
Part Oscar acceptance speech, part visceral catharsis, tonight Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes are not only riding high in the charts. Sure, a fair few of the capacity crowd seem intent on throwing their weight around but as Carter – ever the master of ceremony – halts the gig during ‘Fangs’ to pick people up, return a phone and help find a lost pair of glasses, he holds the physicality of the room in the palm of his hand.
From the swaggering might of ‘Primary Explosive’ through the hammer blow of ‘Juggernaut’ until the curtain closing unity of ‘I Hate You’, Carter is ringmaster in this circus of clenched fists.
There’s more to beating yourself up on stage than hitting yourself with a microphone though, and as Frank elbows his way through the crowd to stand at the back of the room for the stripped back glint of ‘Loss’ and ‘Beautiful Death’, the heart of ‘Blossom’, and the channeled fury that Frank wields, is exposed in all its bloody glory.
Frank might be kneeling in the dirt, singing about the ruins that surround him but tonight, as the foundations he’s building take shape, there’s a very present danger that everything came before Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes was just a series of warning shots.
Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett / Upset