Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes // The Mysterines // Hot Wax // Live Review // The O2 Academy // Bristol
Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes began their mega world tour tonight after releasing their new album ‘Dark Rainbow’ in Bristol’s infamous O2 Academy, which had a queue that lined the perimeter of the building way before the doors were due to open.
It’s a sold-out gig with a good 1500 tickets purchased, so it’s going to be an interesting night to see how that many punters are crammed into the venue.
As the doors open at 7 pm, it doesn’t take long before the balcony is lined with fans all craving to get the best view possible. The clientele is on the younger side tonight, so the security is getting briefed on what’s sure to be an eventful Wednesday.
Vats full of water are dragged into the pit as the place is known to get pretty sweaty and a bit too close for comfort at times. It’s such a great venue, but of late, many have complained that too many tickets are sold, making it a bit of a health and safety risk. So for fans eager to catch their favourite band, it can put a dampener on the night. So, the best option is to make the most of the bar’s offerings.
First of tonight’s support acts was alternative trio Hot Wax from Hastings, with Tallulah Sim-Savage on vocals and guitar, bassist Lola Sam and newest member, Alfie Sayers on drums.
Due to the gear set up for Frank Carter, they were squeezed onto the edge of the stage, forcing them to the front.
It’s hard to put Hot Wax into a particular music genre; with a sound similar to Royal Blood’s heavy, octave-generated basslines, tight and punchy drums topped with Sim-Savages Courtney Love style vocals; their vibe is raw and thrashy.
Sim-Savage and Sam join each other intermittently to jam with their guitars in front of Sayer’s drum kit and randomly speak a few words between tracks.The venue was yet to be full but they certainly had the crowd intrigued and nodding their heads. With only 25 minutes to make a lasting impression, this trio most certainly pulled it off.
As their set comes to an end, it’s fair to say they’d have reaped some new fans during their rapid and exhilarating set. They were young and energetic and a band to keep on your radar.
After a quick changeover, The Mysterines hit the stage as the second support band of the night. This alternative rock band are relatively new to the music scene and is headed by Lia Metcalfe on guitar and vocals, George Favager on bass, Callum Thompson also on guitar and Paul Crilly on drums. With most of the band dressed in black, they encouraged the crowd to cheer before they launched into their set as Thompson picked up a bow to slide across the strings of his guitar.
The band are a surprising comparison to that of Hot Wax, with a much smoother version of alternative rock. Metcalfe’s vocals are strong; much akin to Chrissie Hynde, and with a good helping of reverb, they fit harmoniously with the band’s flawless sound.
‘Dangerous’ saw Metcalfe picking up her guitar for the first time in their set as they played a variety of tracks taken from their debut album ‘Reeling’, and doing a grand job of ignoring the guitar tech who made a regular appearance on stage to pass different guitars to the band due to the lack of space for a rack.
The venue was now packed with people in every nook and cranny, and The Mysterines were well received by the crowd by providing a truly tack-sharp set; you’d never know the band formed in more recent years with how versed they portrayed themselves playing live.
Time was moving fast tonight as there was a last-minute dash by people to the bar and a visit to the bathroom. The pit gates were opened to allow the stage crew to remove the band’s gear and cups of water were filled by the security team, in preparation for the highlight of the night; Mr Frank Carter and his Rattlesnakes.
It was now 9.15 pm.The usual ‘fill-in’ music stopped playing and the stage was as black as the ace of spades ready for the band to head on.
Screams and cheers from the crowd blasted throughout the venue as Frank Carter swaggered on stage, looking mighty dapper dressed in a two-piece ‘power suit’. His face, now framed by his longer slicked-back hair, became lit from a few spotlights dotted around, as he stood on a podium to grin at his fans.It was clear from his stature that he needed no introduction, as he launched into some of the band’s tracks from their latest album ‘Dark Rainbow’, starting with ‘Can I Take You Home’.
Working for the crowd into a state of mental agitation, Carter dominated the stage, busting desultory dance moves and crouching down near the edge of the stage for those all-important ‘live shots’ courtesy of the photographers in the pit.
Taken from their 2015 album ‘Blossom’, ‘Devil Inside Me’ saw Carter lose his mic momentarily which he had a bit of a chuckle about as the band carried on regardless.And it didn’t take long for fans to commence the obligatory crowd surfing, with some pretty daring moves to make security jump into action. Of course, the night wouldn’t be complete without Carter joining in as he threw himself into a hungry crowd.
After a few more hits from his other successful albums, he opened up the dance floor and invited everyone to form the mosh pit; minus any blokes, which is a regular feature during certain tracks in their set, encouraging equality and empowerment amongst his fans.
There’s some serious love in the air tonight as Carter periodically reminds the crowd how much he ‘fucking loves them’ as he paces about.But he’s not the only one who fails to remain in one spot on stage. Long-time member and guitarist, Dean Richardson, is one strapping geezer who also spends much of his time galavanting across the stage with his guitar held high, like he’s brandishing a dangerous weapon.It makes an exhilarating performance, though, showing that they’re completely lost in the moment.
The jacket is off for ‘Parasite’ as Carter grabs his mic with both hands and eyes wide open; a track that takes him back to his roots in Gallows, and outcome the growls that he’s renowned for.
Throughout their gargantuan setlist, the crowd take over the vocals on classic tracks such as ‘My Town’, but Carter takes things down a notch and shows a softer side in another track from their new album named ‘Sun Bright Golden Happening’; a track that features a piano and just his softly spoken vocals.As he perches on the edge of the stage whilst the rest of the band takes a breather, it creates a complete contrast to what else has been played during the night and leaves the crowd standing still to listen and soak up the atmosphere.And just to show his appreciation, he uses both hands to form the shape of a heart to show them all.
‘Crowbar’, taken from their album ‘End of Suffering’ is next on the setlist with Carter dedicating it to the crowd.The stage is lit red, as in the official video, which brings them back to life and has them stomping frantically.
But as the band kick off with their next track ‘Lullaby’, there’s an abrupt pause as he notices a spot of trouble amongst the crowd. ‘Someone’s fucked up’, he states and points to a guy who looks a little worse for wear.Security storms over the barrier to drag him out of the crowd as Carter says ‘get him to the bathroom’ before he’s ushered out of the side door to get some fresh air.The band continue to play unphased, but it’s quite obvious that it’s concerned Carter as he puts his thumb up to others in the crowd to make sure that they’re right.It was bound to happen at some point during the night with the amount of people watched fuelled by copious amounts of alcohol.But it didn’t spoil anything and fair play to Carter for stopping to help a fan out.
As the band are nearing the end of their set, the crowd are invited to sing along to another track from their new album, to which they oblige.And even though it’s only been recently released, fans showed true dedication as they shouted lyrics word for word.
It was now 10.25 pm and time for the band to head off stage for a break.But everyone in the crowd knew what was coming as they stamped hard on the ground to entice the band back out for their encore.
After what seemed like a very short break, Carter and his band were back on stage raring to play the final leg of their set.He stood with his hands on his hips and recalled a moment during the night when the crowd were singing, asking them which track it was. ‘Ok guys, we’ll play that one then’ as he looks at the band.
He goes on to say how much he loves everyone who’s followed him from the start and that he’s loved playing with such amazing bands tonight, before playing one of their well-known tracks from their ‘Blossom’ album, ‘I Hate You’.It was that time of the night when Carter then took time out to introduce all of the band members and to thank everyone for coming to see him in Bristol. ‘I think we’ve got time for one more though?’ he asked.
The final track of their set was ‘Man Of The Hour’, which had the crowd holding their hands in the air to point at the stage and a great way to end the night on a high.Typically, for the photographers who were out of the pit after the usual ‘first three songs’; the stage was lit like a bloody Christmas Tree after chasing Carter and the band around the stage in near darkness!
And that was it; all over.After an impressive and lengthy set, the band vacated the stage; but not until Frank had thrown a few plectrums out to his fans was his mission complete.
All in all, the night was class.Three bands, playing three different styles of music, and each one giving 110% during their performance, was just what the doctor ordered on a bleak Wednesday night.
Frank continues his tour across the UK before heading over the water to France, Germany and even down under.If you’re a Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes virgin, get yourself along to one of his gigs.This guy will not disappoint.