Where: O2 Academy Bristol
If you’re a fan of urban anthems that blur the line between grime and synth pop then Ecca Vandal is the artist for you. This is her first time playing the UK but her set definitely sank its hooks into the audience of the O2 Academy. Expressive synths paint the perfect backdrop for her voice, which lights up the darkly dystopian subject matter of her lyrics. Whilst sonically different to the acts this evening, her stage presence makes for a captivating opening act. ‘Price Of Living’ embodies their sound to a tee.
After some teething problems with the mic levels, front man Andrew Fisher delivers a sucker punch to a swelling crowd. The unique brand of melodic hardcore that Basement offers amps the energy up as the first mosh pits of the night begin to emerge. With the opening lyrics to ‘Covet’ the entire Academy becomes one unified voice as they chant along with the band. It’s safe to say that after returning from touring America with The Front Bottoms they’ve upped the ante in terms of showmanship and could easily be headlining this venue.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes
After taking a well deserved break the enigmatic Frank Carter and his Rattlesnakes are back and bigger than ever. Tonsillitis may have caused the rescheduling of shows in Ireland but if their performance at tonight’s sold out show is any indication of how this tour will pan out then it will be one for the books. As always, Frank is sharply dressed. Hitting the stage in flares and leather, now sporting chartreuse green hair as the rest of the band joins looking equally as snazzy. The band has been active for just over two years but in that time has garnered respect from fans of any genre of music, they’re all here tonight to revel in the neon glow and see chaos erupt.
Frank flails like an animal as he launches into ‘Fangs’; the stage is just the tip of the iceberg as he launches himself into the crowd. The focus isn’t entirely on Frank tonight though; guitarist Dean Richardson flexes his technical ability by firing off riff after riff. With the release of second album Modern Ruin the band elevated the standards of punk by incorporating electronic components, keyboardist Thomas Michener has become a key element of the sleaziness of Frank’s stage persona.
Early into the set Frank revels in the sheer delight of being given a wireless microphone; now he has no boundaries. ‘Modern Ruin’ begins above the mixing desk before the performance covers all areas of the venue. Climbing stairs and leaning from balconies, there is no stopping Frank Carter. Whilst it would be easy to neglect his duties as a vocalist when caught up in the exploration he actually exceeds expectations by nailing every note and then some. A wireless Frank is a force to be reckoned with and the audience loves it.
Carrying on the tradition from earlier shows ‘Wild Flowers’ becomes the definition of chaotic, as it’s “women only” crowd surfing kicks into gear. A sea of flesh makes its way towards the band with a few even making it on stage. The security staff doesn’t look too amused but the sheer spectacle of audience participation has to be commended. The set also gives the band a chance to premiere their new single ‘Spray Paint Love’. It’s somewhat of a departure from the sound they’ve established in their earlier works, sounding more like an Arctic Monkeys song but the chugging bass of Tank Barclay and Carters trademark sleaze make a match made in heaven. It’s churning grooves a welcome break from the chaos.
To round off the evening Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes close with fan favourite, ‘I Hate You’. It’s almost as if the band aren’t present as the entirety of the venue belts out the tirade of insults that make up the songs lyrics. Frank seems taken aback by this response, seeing no point in competing with their noise he decides to take a breather and film the ensuing chaos. The Rattlesnakes are back and more deadly than ever.