Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes – Think Tank

Written by on February 23, 2019

There isn’t much that will get me moving once I have settled in for the night on the sofa and have got comfortable. A fifteen-minute warning of a spare Frank Carter ticket is one of those rare occurrences. A whirlwind of activity ensued as I tried to find my pants and exit the house as efficiently as possible, as usual dressing too warmly for the weather and the intended destination. By the time I had realised this mistake however I was too far gone into momentum to turn back.

Frank Carter has nearly killed me on more than one occasion. He is also personally responsible for two of the best shows I have ever seen, certainly the most chaotic. On this occasion, there was a great deal of excitement built into the fact that the upstairs room of Think Tank is much smaller than the other places I had seen him perform and I wanted to see what carnage would erupt.

I had seen him with the Rattlesnakes at The Cluny, in one of the most mental shows he had ever been part of, his words not mine, the stage is shoulder high and the stage diving was ordered as soon as he touched the microphone and didn’t let up throughout the show. There were people climbing up the wall to throw themselves back into the crowd and there was a multi floor fast moving circle pit to witness, yes the pit went both up and down the stairs in its spiral. If the mess of flying bodies wasn’t going to take you out it was the fear of falling going up the stairs.

I had seen him perform with Pure Love in the o2 academy, in that show he didn’t bother with the stage, retrieved the microphone and leapt into the crowd, joining the pit himself and conducting the gig from the heaving masses of fans. At the end of the first song, as I was still circling the room, he pulled on the mic lead, tripping me and sending me arse over tit into the bar, I get the point Frank, I know it was my round.

I wasn’t disappointed, I don’t think anyone ever has been. The atmosphere was electric in the small room, the crowd wedged in as best they could manage and the energy from the stage was manic. Carter sang at least one song with his feet on the ceiling, crowd surfing upside down and not missing a note. The professional level he has reached at performing while being thrown about by fans has yet to be reached by anyone else, and probably never will be. The mix of old and new tracks was done well and the crowd new every word, often drowning out the amplified singer at his own show.

The rest of the band soon got in on the action, leaping over the barriers and into the crowd too. The night was a celebration of crowd surfing. Pausing the show Carter even gave a special mention to the ladies in the room, acknowledging the worries that some have over crowd surfing, and the frequent stories of sexual assault by any that indulge, declaring the room a safe space and admonishing anyone who would dare even think of breaking such a rule, he dedicated the next song to the women and an endless line of them surfed the crowd to be delivered at the foot of the stage.

This and a discussion on the issues of anxiety would normally derail the momentum of any other show. The fans here were so rabid and appreciative that once the music started again the energy went right back up to the limit. The fact that the show had to be paused at all shows that there is obviously still an issue and still a worry among some of his fans, no one is going to pause a show if they don’t need to, check yourself before you wreck yourself anyone who would complain about this.

There is something that I have noticed in all of the shows I have seen Frank Carter perform, there is a madness in the crowd and the manic frenzy of bodies is intoxicating and entertaining on it’s own. But there is a huge respect there from the crowd and the band. There is a stated will for no one to get hurt and for the madness to make someone’s night instead of ruining it. There seems to be a genuine connection between band and audience that borders on the rules of a house party. Have fun, don’t fuck up anyone else’s good time. For all the frantic energy in the room they are easily the friendliest crowds I have ever been around.

The gig was once again a triumph, and the rattlesnakes remain one of my favourite live acts. Their tickets are sparse and fast moving, plan ahead, move quick and don’t miss a chance to see them.

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