The Old Firestation,
Spending the afternoon with you and Dean in interview and generally milling around the venue we knew this was a big night. Regardless of its ticket sales (the whole tour is sold out) the Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes ship runs like the professional outfit that has yet again seen you with stadium support slots; this time with Foo Fighters in summer 2019.
At 2.05pm the Underscore Part 3 team are just looking for a parking space when Ian your tour manager calls us checking our whereabouts and when we step into the venue we’re politely greeted by you, guitarist Dean and the aforementioned Ian, whilst a sea of boxes are carefully dealt with the band’s techies.
You and Dean stated in interview that this is the band’s most important album because neither of you have managed to get past two albums with a band. You tell us how the record nearly broke you but it’s apparent we’re sat with a pair who have grown, are emotionally healthier than they have ever been and to be blunt have probably made a better record than the two classics before it! We as fans cannot wait to hear it.
I’m sorry Frank but being honest with you, too often you’ve played small venues which sell out quickly disappointing fans but Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes I tell you now – you will not be able to come back to these venues again. With the exceptional level of performance you bring on stage, in the studio and in the public appearance, you will not be coming back. You guys are just too good and more poignantly too important in the troubled state in which we find our society.
It is a shame that you have spent the majority (and probably still in public incorrect view) of your adult life being an exceptionally angry man who prided himself in out of control chaotic shows which although explosive and memorable did not have substance. However now we cannot be happier that you’ve found your Bernie Taupin; your writing partner who brings out the best in you as a musician. It is for this reason we suspect we are seeing a level of performance from you far superior than ever before.
You, Dean and Co. started your set with the new stadium sized anthem Crowbar, bursting onto the stage with energy but not violence. (At this point I remembered you speaking to me about how you’d spent 10 years spreading negative energy which still caused you issues) It is with this energy that your fans erupted in chaotic fun. It is likely that a fair few of them remember your more unhinged shows and miss elements of it, but it is impossible to be disappointed watching a band at the peak of their career putting on a punk rock ‘n’ roll party. I can only guess that you’re loving Crowbar as much as we all are instructing the band to play it again in the encore after it appears you noticed you had more time left than planned. This is the Frank we will now have to get to know, a Frank that will give 110% which is something you’ve always done but now you feel able to be ‘Frank Carter’ the man who can be vulnerable and not be the mask of ‘character’ you described your public persona had become.
With new track ‘Anxiety’ we admired you for declaring to the crowd that you suffer from anxiety, something from the cheers unfortunately it seemed many of your fans find difficult too. Thanks for relating to us in a way we can understand. Thanks for explaining your disdain for the patriarchy and the conditioning that men have had to be ‘warriors’. On record label’s orders we hear only one other new song, ‘Kitty Sucker’ in the encore which is a song that has a livelier tempo than ‘Anxiety’ and after Dean giving us a clear ‘nod’ in conversation earlier that a new single will come before the album, we highly suspect this is it?
As a proud dad of a 4-year-old daughter who is lucky to have you with you saying to me that she ‘gets my all,’ we love your advocating of the need for feminism and your morals bleed on to the stage; the clear instruction to the audience of the song you dedicated for female crowd surfers to feel safe that they will not groped by men was both comical but depressing that it is necessary. We (and the whole crowd) laughed when a female’s head instantly popped up on someone’s shoulders to commendation from you as well as a male who you tell to get down because this song is not his to crowdsurf to.
We thank you that all the elements of ‘The Frank Carter experience’ remain; the calls for circle pits that don’t fit in the room, people holding you stood up in the crowd, constant crowd surfing and much more but this tour and your band are now about rock ‘n’ roll whilst being honest to yourself and having fun. With this honesty and the quality of songs that match any stadium band – goodbye little venues, hello arenas.
Frank, Dean and the rest of the band; this is very well deserved for you as musicians, for yourselves personally and your mental well-being.
A society who needs a rock ‘n’ roll that is honest and that we can believe in whilst still dancing like the self-destructive teens of whom we still have all the traits of.
PS. Thanks for introducing us to Black Futures, an unusual choice for your styling but with an extremely polished set musically and with their theatrics; we’re certain this won’t be the last we hear from them.
Frank Carter & Dean Richardson interviews coming soon! Words James Wadsworth
Photos Megan Smith