REVIEW: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Blackhole, Creeper @ The Cluny, Newcastle (22.10.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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“This band isn’t even a year old, and look what we’ve achieved already,” murmurs a genuinely humble Frank Carter, five minutes in to what would turn out to be a phenomenal evening, at Newcastle’s Cluny with his new outfit, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes.

First up on the night were Creeper; a Southampton based five-piece (plus a stand-in keyboardist) whose unique blend of Alkaline Trio meets AFI-esque pop punk packed a serious punch, kicking off the evening in perfect style.

Shortly after Creeper departed, Blackhole took to the stage (fronted by Frank Carter’s younger brother, Richard Carter), and swiftly kicked off the first of what went on to be a full evening of ferocious crowd interaction. Combining melodic, twin guitar riffs with erratic, primal screams, the London punks provoke an outbreak of mayhem within the crowd, a seemingly fitting response to their return from a nigh-on five-year hiatus. Charisma seeps from Carter as he frantically bounces around the venue, in a manner extremely comparable to his brother, the headliner.

In what is now a full-to-the-rafters Cluny, The Rattlesnakes stumble on stage, followed by their cool and collected frontman, immediately bursting in to Primary Explosive, the penultimate track from their debut feature-length effort Blossom. In an instant, Carter propels himself into the absolute frenzy of flailing arms and legs that is the audience (a sight which fascinated me, as a complete punk-show novice). “This stage is your stage,” Carter yelps, ensuing absolute chaos from all angles.

With no room to breathe, Carter & Co. storm through a supercharged set of energetic, yet heartfelt hardcore numbers, reminiscent of the work of Carter’s former project Gallows. Songs such as Fangs, the lustful and aggressive first single from the group went down particularly well, as did Paradise, a brutal and electrifying open letter to suicide bombers, which left an angsty energy resonating around The Cluny.

At the halfway point, the tired audience was rewarded with a five-minute breather, when they were all invited to sit on the floor in a circle surrounding Frank, as he performed a minimal and somber solo version of Beautiful Death, a self-penned account of the death of his father-in-law. The moment when a nigh-on tearful Frank Carter bellowed the line “I can feel you fading, and it’s ruining my soul, just stay with me, I don’t want to be alone” evidently struck a chord with the pin-drop silent crowd. At this point, it became evident that these are not just mindless punk rock songs; they are memoirs, confessional and raw, straight from Carter’s heart.

After being inundated with grappling hugs and praise from adoring members of the crowd, Frank pulled himself together, and burst into a furious version of the album opener Juggernaut, to which that familiar feeling of absolute pandemonium made a comeback. It was so chaotic, Frank even roped the security guard into stage diving. Honestly.

“Seriously, this has been my favourite gig of all time, thank you,” Carter proclaims, after an uplifting rendition of the anti-social hit I Hate You, followed by closer Devil Inside Me (performed for the second time that night). Believe me, Frank, the feeling is mutual.

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