LIVE: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes / Strange Bones @ KOKO, London

By Christopher Lee

Frank Carter continues his domination of the UK rock scene as he brings his rattlesnakes to Camden’s KOKO to take yet another step up the ladder. It’s only been 6 short months since Carter & Co tore another Camden venue, the Electric Ballroom apart with a masterful show. Since then they’ve released their esteemed second album ‘Modern Ruin’ which charted at a huge number 6 in the UK album chart and tonight’s show sees the culmination of yet another sold out UK tour.

But before chaos can ensue Blackpool trio Strange Bones are employed to dust the cobwebs off the crowd and prepare them to lose their minds. They certainly do get the crowd amped up but you can’t help but feel that they’re holding back a bit for the main event. There’s an explosive moment as the guys power through a cover of The Prodigy’s ‘Spitfire’ at the end of their set. This seems perfectly timed and leaves the crowd on their toes for what’s to come.

What’s to come is the biggest and best Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes show to date. Ever since their debut a couple of years ago every show they’ve played seems to get bigger and better. Right off the bat the electric crowd are treated to a spectacle, bigger lights and even the odd bit of pyro. What shines above all of this however is the raw energy Carter and the band generate, only a couple of tracks in and he’s already doing handstands atop his loyal fans.

Not to be outdone by Carter, guitarist Dean Richardson or simply ‘Deano’ to everyone, joins him in the crowd. Although to his misfortune and everyone’s amusement the crowd can’t keep the guitarist up and he takes a tumble to the ground while still somehow managing to carry on playing. All laughs aside Carter controls the crowd expertly in the limited space he has. Gone are the “I wanna see a circle pit going around this whole place,” requests from the bands various festival performances. And in come some perfectly timed cues for the crowd to sing along.

As exemplary as Carter is as a frontman the rattlesnakes themselves are equally impressive both technically and aesthetically in their black and white outfits that give Carter himself a run for his money. Never missing a beat throughout they provide the perfect back up to Carters vocal assault. What’s changed over the last 12 months is the set list, with the release of the bands second album ‘Modern Ruin’ is the back catalogue they have to choose from. The string of slower, less aggressive numbers from that album allow Carter & co to switch from fast paced, aggressive punk numbers to slower ballads perfectly. Catering for not only followers from the original record but also the fast growing army of newer fans the band are talking on board.

At the end of a blistering yet intimate show Carter takes a moment or five to thank every single person he can possibly think of. It’s nice to see such genuine humbleness from one of the UK’s best rock bands. With a string of festival performances including but not limited to Glastonbury and having already announced another huge UK tour later this year one can only imagine what another step up might look like for Frank Carter and his Rattlesnakes, but one things for sure. If they carry on at this pace they’re destined for greatness.