Sometimes, when you’re making a magazine, you have to put in the late shift. As team Upset burned the night oils to get our next issue in the printers, Jacob Rickard went to a gig so good that he got a bit carried away and wrote about it just for fun…
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are playing a secret show to 150 people and I’m having my best night out of the year.
The Social is such a tiny venue, it feels like a house party. I spend the whole night beaming from ear to ear as the band put on the ultimate show – everything’s so FUN. During the first song Frank has already crowd-surfed to the middle of the room and wrapped himself around a bracket in the ceiling. Five minutes later he’s excusing himself to be sick behind the drums.
It’s an experience of ludicrous extremes. Straight after the whole room’s screamed Devil Inside Me in satisfying unison, everyone’s sitting cross-legged and silent for Beautiful Death. “Something happened there,” he says. “You could hear a fucking pin drop, or a tear fall off your face.”
He’s a perfect showman, immediately taking every silly opportunity that presents itself. During Juggernaut he challenges two fans to a crowd-surfing race to the back of the room. A power cable, held up by gaffer tape on a plank of wood, gets ripped down and thrown around. One of the filming guys appears to give up hope of getting a steady shot and dives in to the crowd camera-first.
Frank stands on a table, glares around with a vicious smile and decides to play Devil Inside Me again. “It’s my party and I’ll do whatever the fuck I want!” It feels like we’ve reached a ridiculous new peak – the air’s thick with limbs. A bloke is lying on his back in the crowd and brutally punching the ceiling. As the song ends there’s a sudden realisation about how small the room is, and the fact that everyone can comfortably have a chat: someone in the moshpit says “anyone got any water?”.
I decide that Frank’s UK rock’s most engaging character, flipping from hilarious to heartbreaking, from self-deprecation one minute to “make some noise for ME!” the next. You can tell he’s realised how special this night is: “this is what it was like at Gallows gigs back in 2006, it’s just pure unity and love for the music.”
As I walk home buzzing with an almost uncomfortable energy, I feel bizarrely refreshed: it can sometimes feel like “new music” is polished into perfectly-formed marketable products, so I’ve relished a rare evening of true integrity, impetuousness, spirit and spit.