Hardcore maniac Frank Carter never seems to be able to stop. After departing the chaotic Gallows and forming the now defunct Pure Love, Carter now has his hands firmly gripped on a new project: Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes. The band, who have one studio album to their name and another due in January, are essentially a well-crafted and florally dressed fusion of Carter’s previous creative outlets, giving him the opportunity to leave his heart out in the open whilst destroying stages the world over. Last night, Carter and his band took to the Melkweg in Amsterdam, performing an intimate set in front of some 200 people in the venue’s Theaterzaal. God Damn joined along for the ride.
Once the grungy God Damn left the stage, atmosphere slowly but surely bubbled up within the confines of the Melkweg’s tiny Theaterzaal. With a capacity of 200 people, it’s the smallest room which the multi-purpose room has to offer, and it’s by far the best suited one for Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes: it’s small, it’s sweaty and it’s totally prepared for all kinds of carnage. And the carnage doesn’t wait long to emerge either, with set opener Snake Eyes (from forthcoming album Modern Ruin) and the pummelling Juggernaut featuring early on alongside the relentless Paradise.
From the off, Carter commanded the crowd with his charming wit and gritty vocals. Between each song, he’d tell them a story or interact with individual members, undertaking activities which ranged from the laughable (telling a girl celebrating her birthday to get fucked) to the emotional (reciting a touching story about personal loss) and few and far in between. Carter is very good at finding the balance between interaction and performance, although the line between the two did blur when he launched himself into the crowd ahead of new single Lullaby, which is about “trying to get my little girl to go to fucking sleep”. The track is just a mere snapshot of what’s to come from his emotionally heavy new record, one which sticks to Carter’s hardcore roots whilst injecting his sound with harmonic sensibilities.
Carter may not have the largest following Dutch soil has ever seen, but it’s definitely one of the most dedicated, something which is well and truly acknowledged by the frontman. “I know it’s easy to say and believe that you have the best fans, but trust me: I know” he declared at one point, receiving rapturous cheers from throughout the room as he launched into the demented Devil Inside Me, which made for the set’s final moment of pure and utter chaos. Not that this was the only chaotic moment in the show, though; earlier on, he commanded the crowd as they formed a circle pit which went out through one exit door and back in through another. True to form, the crowd obliged as one fan even came back with drinks for the whole band.
Closing the show on the visceral and slow-burning I Hate You, Carter and his Rattlesnakes (a band with so much power and talent that they deserve a special mention for their determination throughout the set) demonstrated their ability to not just drive a crowd crazy, but also to get them raising middle fingers and screaming back lyrics to one of last year’s angriest tracks. Introducing the song, Carter told the crowd that “you are someone else’s asshole” whilst slyly grinning. It’s not exactly uplifting, but it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from a man like Carter. He has a very clear message which he likes to spread, and he does so whilst absolutely destroying every stage he sets his feet on. There aren’t many frontmen as crazy as Carter, meaning that his type ought to be nurtured and never forgotten. By the time the band’s second record comes out, things will only get better and better.