Live: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes @ The Underworld

By Jess McCarrick

The Underworld is the heart of the alternative music scene in London, and for good reason. As you clamber down the steps into the depths of its basement, you can’t help but appreciate the worn walls and dim lighting – a place fitting for punk rock. Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes played three unique nights at the venue, a touch that was appreciated by the band’s superfans that the show attracted.

The band opened with ‘Juggernaut’ and within seconds a sea of black mesh and leather became a blur in a powerful whirlpool of movement. This was much to the delight of frontman Carter who seems to feed off this energy, quickly jumping into the centre of the crowd and holding us all back as he prepared to enter the mosh. Once he clambered back on stage again, he delighted in the moment, reminiscing on perhaps a time where he too stood as we did in the audience, in awe of his favourite band like us.

A fitting continuation was the legendary female only mosh pit, which is a refreshing staple for the rock band who champion creating safe spaces for women and non-binary people. Whilst this could be seen as a gimmick, Carter continues to promote the same values throughout the gig and within his discography. He spoke eloquently on the matter, telling men to “give the girls the space that you’ve occupied your whole life” and to hold each other accountable. ‘Wild Flowers’ saw the coined “happiest mosh-pit you’ll ever see”, and the gig proved that correct as those involved beamed and bounced with no fear.

Perhaps the most intimate moment of the gig followed as Carter brought out his mum to lay the groundwork for the upcoming song ‘Lullaby’. He preached of the importance of his relationship with her, an experience he now shares with his own daughter. The song plays with lullaby metaphors whilst bringing intense instrumentation that juxtaposes the subject matter. The band have fun with a lot of topics that aren’t always present in the genre, adding another level to their body of work and live shows. The crowd collided in irony to lyrics “Sing you a lullaby, Every night, Just shut your eyes, We will be alright” that were backed with an aggressive drum beat and incessant guitar riffs.

As the night pushed on, the room was thick with heat and sweat – markers of a great punk evening. It showed no signs of slowing as ‘Fangs’ – a staple from their first album – was met with a roar. Carter climbed to the back of the room and hung from the balcony as he egged on the crowd to get ready for his jump, proclaiming, “now we have a gig”.

The final act saw ‘My Town’, ‘Devil Inside of Me’, ‘Parasite’ and the unmistakable distorted whirring of ‘Crowbar’ give the group a chance to prove why they’re a true punk sensation; their stamina never faulting for two hours of gritty and hyper playing. These boys can make crafting a lot of noise look easy.

Simply put, you cannot fault this band on their irreverent, heartfelt, and pointed messaging combined with relentlessly gritty instrumentation. The Underworld was the perfect place to bear witness the ascension of Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes from the depths of hell to deliver a show we’ll never forget.