Where: Electric Ballroom, Camden
We’ll admit that we’d never heard of these guys before, but as the 4-piece garage punks from London make their way on stage they bring a level of fun that instantly won us over. Unfortunately the steadily growing audience remains relatively static through the duration of the set but Thee MVPs have something special. ‘Slimelord’ demonstrates a contemporary approach to garage that adds newfound technicality to the bare bones formula.
Next up are Dead! Hailing from the Isle of Wight, they channel their unique blend of punk riffage and gothic imagery into a packed Electric Ballroom, coaxing life into the crowd. They have to battle with some sound issues for the first few tracks but overcome it to deliver a solid set that captures the theatrical nature of early My Chemical Romance. An energetic performance from front man Alex Mountford makes these guys a great addition to the lineup and an excellent opener for the main event.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
As front man Frank Carter takes to the stage he tells us that Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes is a band built on “love and fucking respect” setting down the ground rules for tonights sold-out Camden show. The venue is packed to the rafters with every kind of music fan that the area has to offer, regardless of status or appearance they’re all in attendance and ready to rock. On the tail end of a sold out tour of the UK, the now 2-year-old band have garnered quite a fan base.
Opening with ‘Trouble’, the band goes full throttle into the set and tear up the stage. Strutting his stuff in a tailor-made Gucci suit, Frank is on fine form tonight. Throwing his voice out to the masses in the cavernous Ballroom, climbing on stacks and scrambling over the crowd,, he has total command the room but that’s not surprising when you consider his expansive musical career.
It’s obvious that tonight is a big deal for the band; their families are all in attendance and most tracks are in dedication to them, the audience responding with rapturous applause each time a name is dropped. ‘Fangs’ is up next, coaxing frenzy in the pit with a call and response segment – “If you’ve got fangs then sink them in!” Proceedings slow down with ‘Beautiful Death, a stripped-back rendition that eulogises Frank’s late father-in-law and the audience reacts accordingly with mournful silence before the set picks up the pace again.
The set also features a selection of newer songs from upcoming album Modern Ruin, including the first live performance of the title track; which is received with welcome ears. It becomes the shows dedicated crowd surfing track, but with one catch; only women can do it. Frank tells us that he wants his daughter to grow up in a world where women in punk can feel free and where typically male antics like crowd surfing can be “expected” as the norm for girls too. As ‘Modern Ruin’ hits its peak the venue becomes a mass of moving bodies- watching from the balcony, it’s a hell of a sight. The chugging bass riffs of Tom ‘Tank’ Barclay building a winding tension that when layered with the lead playing of Dean Richardson forms a concoction of melodic hardcore that plays superbly against Franks charismatic vocal styling.
In a set full of gentlemanly banter, well written hooks and a splash of animalistic aggression, the set draws to its close with an encore comprising of new song ‘Snake Eyes’, Blossom classic ‘Devil Inside Me’ and fan-favourite ‘I Hate You’. Frank croons to the crowd in his closing lyrics as the lights go up unveiling the ever so dedicated fans repeating every line. With a flawless debut album and subsequent offerings maintaining their quality we have a feeling that Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are going to be selling out tours for many years to come.