Gig review: Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes at Brudenell Social Club. Picture: Abi Whistance
Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes at Brudenell Social Club. Picture: Abi Whistance
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Frank Carter is a jester, there’s no doubt about it.

Minus the hat and costume, he’s a textbook entertainer with tantalising crowds as his forte; the release of End of Suffering just acting as another opportunity for him to get out there and jest some more.

It’s not hard to see why Frank Carter has cultivated a cult-like following in a matter of years. With lively and enigmatic performances bordering on the obscene, it’s a rarity to leave one of his shows not covered in your own blood, sweat and tears – or someone else’s. Yet it’s not just this brutality that seems to draw people to The Rattlesnakes, instead there seems to be something far bleaker than a busted lip.

It’s hard to explain. But new album End of Suffering makes a good attempt to, holding a candle to the dark and abrasive lyrical content that so many of his fans allude to on previous records. There’s no subtlety here; unlike his previous releases this album feels so much more forward in his unrest, self-destruction rearing its ugly head countless times.

Even despite the darker nature of the album making it feel at times like hard work, they still don’t fall short in providing a hardcore punk-rock sound. It’s this that gives them an appeal to those who aren’t as appreciative of inner turmoil on tape and just want to mosh for a bit; Carter taking endless pleasure in catering for the violent as well as the vulnerable.

So it’s not too surprising that within the first five minutes bedlam had ensued. The tiny nature of Brudenell didn’t help, or maybe it did, depending on how you look at it. Being packed in so tightly your arms are in an ‘elbows out, defences up’ position can make you go a little stir-crazy, and if this is what he intended it’s certainly what he got.

Throwing himself into the arms of his crowd, throwing punches and throwing off those throwing themselves at him on stage, there was a lot of throwing going on. It’s hard to know whether to be in awe or a little terrified, his stage-rage so unpredictable you feel the need to take more than a few steps back to keep out of his firing line.

Performing at maximum overdrive for over an hour, the most impressive part of this set was an energy that never faltered. An energy that seemed to have carried him through two monstrous performances in one night, with an intimate acoustic show just hours before the main event looking to have no wearying effect on him.

Frank Carter is a born performer. Even in his pre-Rattlesnake days of Gallow it was plain to see, his charisma and zest on stage something that takes the majority of folk years to even come close to achieving. With his natural flair for the brutal and the dramatic it won’t be long before he’s taking the world by storm.