Live Review: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes. Leeds O2 Academy – 13.02.24

Among the crowd at Leeds O2 Academy on Tuesday night, there was some discussion about how Frank Carter’s new “era” was going to shape up live. Dark Rainbow has a distinctly more mellow feel to it than some of the previous output, and marks a more retrospective, less explosive chapter of the Rattlesnakes’ career, so how this was to mix in with the older material was at the front of minds.

But, throwing in two exceptional support acts really helped to get things moving before Frank, Dean and the band took to the stage.

Opening up was Hot Wax, a punk powerhouse hailing from Hastings. With a catalogue of thundering, bass heavy punk bangers and a well crafted image and attitude, it’s easy to see why they’re coming back to Leeds on their own headline tour in a couple of months’ time. They looked right at home on the bigger stage.

The crowd was revved up for the turn of The Mysterines, one of the most exciting bands out of Liverpool for a while. Gracing festival stages as well as opening up for Arctic Monkeys in 2023, this is a band that could easily headline the Academy under their own steam, stepping out from the support act banner. Opening with Callum Thompson playing the guitar with a violin bow, a la Jimmy Page, really impressed, and Lia Metcalfe’s energy and vocal had the crowd bouncing.

The arrival of Frank Carter was muted. To start with at least! Dean Richardson strolls up to the keys and sits down. The band take their positions before Carter arrives, drink aloft, saluting the crowd. Three songs from the new record kick things off, and they keep up the momentum that the opening acts generated. 

Carter is intense from the off, standing on the platforms across the front of the stage, getting higher and delivering with even greater presence. Then he’s down, crouched over the edge of the stage, eyeballing the audience, bringing the Academy into life. 

The opening of Devil Inside Me kick-starts the second act – a much heavier segment of the show, split into 3 distinct main sections. The shackles are off in Act II, as the crowd collides and bounces off one another in a seemingly never ending mosh pit. Wild Flowers is set aside for a female only pit, keeping men to the side to create a safe, but no less energetic, space. “The happiest mosh pit in the world” says Carter, and it’s hard to argue with that.

Act III opens with Sun Bright Golden Happening, an introspective ballad that temporarily quells the fire in the crowd. From then on, the temperature rises again, and races towards a bouncing, fist pumping finish to the main set – crowd surfers pulled across the barrier by security while even Carter himself sometimes seems amazed – and amused – at the chaos unfurling in front of him.

The encore is a raucous, collective singalong, with the crowd screaming the lyrics of I Hate You back towards the stage. You can see Frank and Dean share a smile, a laugh as they look on proudly at what their song has become. 

It rounds off a night that ebbed and flowed from the calm to the cacophonous, mellow to moshing all at the beck and call off a performer and band that really know how to craft a show. Very definitely the Man of the Hour.

Act I: Cloudy & Pink
Can I Take You Home?
Self Love

Act II: Like Lightning
Devil Inside Me
Kitty Sucker
Wild Flowers
Tyrant Lizard King
My Town
Cupid’s Arrow

Act III: Redemption Arc
Sun Bright Golden Happening
Go Get a Tattoo
Happier Days
End of Suffering

I Hate You
Man of the Hour

Previous Premiere: Lime Garden have 'One More Thing' to show in the form of a video for 'Pop Star'
Next Live Gallery: Coal Chamber and Mudvayne at the Hordern Pavilion, Sydney 16.02.2024

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