LIVE: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes / Creeper / Polt Her Geist @ Borderline, London

By Ben Tipple

There’s an odd juxtaposition in the way punk icon Frank Carter conducts himself on stage, as he wavers from obnoxious and violent to humble and welcoming in the switch of a strobe light. One moment he is involved in a rather unnecessary altercation with an overzealous fan, and the next he is encouraging his mother onto the stage or laughing with friends and colleagues. If anything, tonight is a volatile experience.

It’s a juxtaposition that is mirrored in the support acts, as relative newcomers Polt Her Geist’s unnerving attitude sits against the considered demeanour of goth-punks Creeper. Both seemingly handpicked by Carter, it sets up the family atmosphere that later encourages supportive chants by select crowd members as The Rattlesnakes frontman discusses his troubled year or confesses his jubilation to be back on stage.

Polt Her Geist’s relentless ferocity and Creeper’s friendly demeanour both manifest themselves in Carter who remains the immediate focus point of his latest endeavour. His hardened exterior far from an act, it is evident that Carter is elated by the crowd’s reaction. It’s easy to understand why; songs released less than a week prior have been learned by adoring fans, and discounting Carter’s atypical plea for the claustrophobic crowd to take better care of each other, everyone is more than ready to fling themselves around with abandon.


Entirely unpolished, all tracks from ‘Blossom’ explode from the stage. As Carter writhes around the venue like a man possessed, he is supported by an onslaught of punk that rarely subsides. Only as the frontman positions himself towards the back of the room can the crowd literally find their feet, ready to be mesmerised by a particularly haunting renditions of ‘Loss’ and ‘Beautiful Death’.

It’s a cathartic experience both for Carter and his fans; an apparent release for pent up aggression. The volatility is genuine rather than a forced atmosphere that simply mimics Carter’s punk credentials. Musically The Rattlesnakes are rough and ready, and so are their following. There’s an unrelenting anger underpinning everything on stage and off, one that proves challenging but powerful.

Refreshingly, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes play as if they have something to say. Undoubtedly built around the charismatic frontman, Carter proves an unstoppable force, yet occasionally opts to show a softer side. As The Rattlesnakes launch into ‘Fangs’ for the second time it’s easy to see that nobody wants this show to end, not least Carter. Yet with ‘Blossom’ under their belt and performances such as this there’s plenty more left before Carter, in his own words, drives the car into a tree.

WORDS: Ben Tipple
PHOTO: Corinne Cumming