LIVE: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes / Black Futures @ Peddler, Sheffield

By Liam Knowles

The story of Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes is a wild one. In mid-2015 there were a few social media rumblings and the rumour mill was chattering about Frank Carter being back on the scene with a band. Fast forward just under 4 years and the band are already at that stage where they’re announcing a special run of intimate shows, having already reached dizzying heights, selling out massive venues and headlining festivals the world over. Normally bands take decades to go so high that they feel like taking a step back down, but not these lads. Tonight, they hit Sheffield, and specifically hit a venue that has never hosted an event like this before; the Peddler night market. Given how quickly this one of a kind show sold out, it’s bound to be a night to remember.

First, though, we must put up with half an hour of Black Futures, who are just frustratingly bad. Their Facebook bio pins them as a mix between Death From Above 1979 and Chemical Brothers, but the truth is that their songs go absolutely nowhere and they just sound like a slightly noisier Imagine Dragons; they literally sound like they’re trying to get on an advert for microprocessors or credit cards or something equally not-punk. The band tries to compensate for this complete lack of songs by sending two Breaking Bad extras in hazmat suits and masks out into the crowd to robot-dance among the punters, but it’s all just a bit cringe-inducing and most people looked visibly uncomfortable when one of them came near.

It was always going to take something special to shake the crowd up after that display, but luckily Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes could get a circle pit going in a nursing home, so the overhanging funk lasts next to no time. The band opens with recent single ‘Crowbar’, which has clearly struck a chord with people in the month since its release as the crowd sings every word back to the charismatic vocalist. Frank is on fine form as always, spending most of his time in or on top of the crowd for fan favourites like ‘Wild Flowers’ and ‘Trouble’. His band are also impeccably tight and have incredible stage presence, although the first half of the set is a little quiet and that does make heavier tracks like ‘Fangs’ lose their impact slightly.

Once this sound issue is resolved it becomes abundantly clear why Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes have enjoyed such levels of success; they have it all. Great songs? Check. Loads of energy? Check. Charismatic frontman who has the crowd eating out of his hand all through the set? Check. Crowd interaction that never feels forced? Check. Genuinely funny banter, balanced well with tasteful talk of more serious subjects like mental health and misogyny? Check. A feeling of authenticity and actual substance to accompany their undeniable style? Check. At this point, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes can do whatever the fuck they want, which is the exact phrase Frank utters in his charming southern sneer before launching into ‘Crowbar’ for the second time in tonight’s set.

As the band close proceedings on ‘I Hate You’, the crowd’s united voice towering above that of Frank himself, that special show that people were hoping for has more than been realised. Very few modern bands could pull off that old rock and roll cliché of going round each band member by name and giving them a little solo as the song ends, but this is Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and we’ve already established that they can do whatever the fuck they want. Long may they continue to do so.