Words by Natalie Blacklock
Photos by Elizabeth Sharpe – Ummagummamumma – Live Music Photography
Full gallery HERE
If you’ve been paying attention to the Australian live music scene over recent years, then there’s a huge chance you would have noticed English punk rock outfit Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are now something akin to frequent guests of this country. Certainly no stranger to Aussie shores, they’re back once again – their fourth trip in two years – in support of their third studio album ‘The End Of Suffering’ (released in May 2019) and are around kicking off their seven-show run around the country in Brisbane as they gear up to play their biggest headlining shows here yet.
Playing host for the evening is The Triffid, which opened in 2014. Situated in walking distance to James Street and the heart of Fortitude Valley, The Triffid is a former World War II hangar that merges its industrial identity with state of the art sound techniques, offering one of the premier music experiences in the city. As the rain poured outside, the audience inside the former World War II hangar swelled earlier than use. The Triffid bandroom was abuzz with chatter and the sound of crushed-up tinnies, as punters warmed themselves up with a good yarn and beer in each hand, ready for a night of punk goodness.
First up were Novocastrian pop-punkers Eat Your Heart Out. On the back of the release of their debut full-length album, ‘Florescence’, in May 2019, the quintet have been out on the road headlining around the country and supporting the likes of American post-hardcore legends Senses Fail and fellow Newcastle locals, Trophy Eyes. Fresh from the stage at UNIFY Gathering last weekend; they were in fine form right from the outset, highlighting their personal and creative growth in recent years. Wasting no time, Eat Your Heart Out ripped straight into the lyric-heavy Nowhere and crowd favourite Carousel, with Frontwoman Caitlin Henry inviting punters to get closer and get involved. Patience saw Drummer Jake Cronin shine, delivering a strong and powerful rhythm before Guitarist Will Moore unleashed his backing vocals and shredding prowess across Conscience, evoking early memories of the captivating stage presence of Clint Ellis (The Getaway Plan, ex- The Amity Affliction). Heavy With Envy really captured the tight instrumentation behind Eat Your Heart Out, while Rust offered an up-tempo change in the set. Rounding out with the super-catchy Better Late Than Never and their first single from ‘Florescence’, Closer To The Sun, it’s easy to see the grunge realism, emo intimacy, punk panache, and pop ambition that have propelled Eat Your Heart Out to the forefront both here and overseas.
Up next were Tassie lads, A. Swayze & The Ghosts. The 4-piece are probably best described as an ‘unhinged’ party band, serving as a very important reminder that garage rock is still the best style of music when it’s done as well as these guys do. An overseas run in the UK and Ireland for The Great Escape Festival and a tour with North Carolina’s The Nude Party and Melbourne mates Cable Ties saw the Hobart 4-piece have a massive 2019, marking the start of a new and exciting chapter for the band. From the moment the band walked out on the stage, something about them commanded attention. Frontman, Andrew Swayze, oozed unwavering swagger and dynamic stage presence, which made for an entrancing vocal performance. By the second song, I.C.U, rolled on through it was clear that the audience were hanging on his every word – clapping, bopping and shouting along. 2018 single and clear crowd favourite, Suddenly, echoed huge Bad//Dreems and West Thebarton vibes. Swayze exclaimed, “This next song is very long” before they embarked on an epic 10+ minute performance of Reciprocation. The song had it all – Swayze had the Microphone Lead wrapped snugly around his neck reminiscent of Adam Lazzara from Taking Back Sunday, jumping from the stage to the front barrier rail and back again before sitting casually on a Foldback and launching into the piercing final bridge. Bringing up the tail-end of the polished yet ad-hoc set was newest single Connect To Consume, which examines the various platforms of social connection used online and the fast-paced and groovy-as-hell Smooth Sailing, but the crowd still wanted more. With their unique brand of chaotic abrasiveness and tongue-in-cheek playfulness, A. Swayze & The Ghosts are definitely a band to watch in the future.
Frank Carter has never been a man for subtlety – brash, confident and unashamedly honest; Carter’s exploits over the 13 years of his musical output (Gallows, Pure Love, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes) have garnered him a reputation as one of music’s best, and most explosive Frontmen. First forming back in 2015 with guitarist Dean Richardson following the announcement of Pure Love’s indefinite hiatus, Carter has been hard at work ever since, releasing three albums in that time with his band The Rattlesnakes and touring the world over. To no one’s surprise when Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes slithered into Brisbane on Thursday night, they came baring fangs and ready to strike. It was a no-frills stage setup; no Foldbacks and the minimalist cover art from their latest record ‘The End of Suffering’ as the backdrop. As the lights went down, The Rattlesnakes emerged and took their places on the stage, to be joined moments later by an energetic Frank Carter, who took a bow and addressed the screaming crowd; “How the fuck’s everyone feeling tonight? My name’s Frank Carter and these motherfuckers are The Rattlesnakes” before ripping into a no-holds-barred assault on the senses. Kicking off with a 1-2 punch from their latest record with Tyrant Lizard King and Kitty Sucker – which echoes a similar sound and feel to Canadian punks PUP’s track Reservoir, and saw a slew of punk jumps and crowd vocals before Carter launched himself into the front of the moshpit. Juggernauts was a heavier addition early on and brought out the first wave of crowdsurfers out of the woodwork, making for a busy night for the Security Guards managing the barrier. Vampires was dedicated to the support acts, Eat Your Heart Out and A. Swayze & The Ghosts and saw Dean Richardson take his Guitar out for a crowdsurf, illuminated by mobile phone flashlights. In what seems almost a bit of a tradition now, the ‘Shoey’ chants ignited only to be shot down by Carter himself; “I swear to god if you keep fucking shouting ‘Shoey’ on Day 1 of tour… The day I drink out of one your sweaty shoes I’d have lost all my dignity – but come to Crowbar later and I’ll buy you all a drink”.
In a beautiful (and welcome) change of pace from ‘Shoeys’, the audience were encouraged to find themselves a partner and slow dance as The Rattlesnakes ripped into Love Games, turning The Triffid’s dancefloor into a stunning Ballroom. The hard-hitting Anxiety brought the mood back to punk, with the song examining the feeling of “waking up in the mirror and having no idea about the fucking person looking back at you”. Wild Flowers opened up the dancefloor again – but just for the ladies – with Carter going out of his way to make it clear that his shows were a place for safety, acceptance and zero violence. Older cut Fangs saw Carter and Richardson unite on the harmonies and newer track Why A Butterfly Can’t Love A Spider soared as Carter and his band gave their all to their performance. Angel Wings carried the important message about checking in on your mates as Carter implored the audience to “keep on asking until you get the truth” while Supervillain offered a perfect juxtaposition to the previous; “if that song was all about dying than this song is all about living”. Jackals, from the band’s 2017 album ‘Modern Ruin’, delivered the biggest circle pit of the evening, much to the excitement of the packed bandroom. Lullaby, dedicated to his young daughter Mercy Rose, speaks of the panic and terror that is born from the delirium of sleep deprivation that new parents experience, and is a perfect example Carter’s electric stage presence.
The short, fast and loud Crowbar really hit the spot as bodies jumped up and down and arms pumped fiercely in time with Gareth Grover’s Drums. The crowd really brought it for The Devil You Know, leading the entire first verse, and leaving the band a little shell-shocked in the best way possible. In pausing and taking a moment to thank the security guards, bar staff, venue workers, sound, lighting and stage technicians, tour manager, driver, and his bandmates individually, really spoke to Carter’s integrity and sincerity as a performer. Again, the echoed chants for a ‘Shoey’ ignited, only to be met with an ultimatum from the band– two more songs if it stopped or just one if it didn’t. Sensibly, the crowd made the right choice as Carter & The Rattlesnakes unleashed older cut Trouble, from their 2015 debut album ‘Blossom’. In taking a moment to address the crowd, Carter exclaimed; “we came a long way to be with you all. Thank you from the bottom of my heart” before introducing the final song for the evening. He told the crowd that even after 5 years; his Mum still hated it – even though it’s not about her. However, he did concede that if his daughter came home, said “Hey Dad, check this out” and had written something similar, he would feel the same. With an air of excitement, the vicious and the emotionally driven I Hate You kicked in, with every single person in the crowd screaming the lyrics back at the stage as good as they got – ending the evening on a rage-filled yet oddly cathartic note. As the house lights came back on, the band lingered, ripping the setlists from the stage, throwing them out into the crowd along with drumsticks, guitar picks and even the odd hi-five. As the punters streamed out into cooler air of Stratton Street, there were many empowered, excited, positive and happy faces leaving The Triffid and it’s easy to see why – a show from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes takes you on an emotional rollercoaster, but certainly reminds you that living in the moment is the most important thing you can ever do.
Be sure to catch Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes on their remaining dates of ‘The End of Suffering’ Tour. For dates, locations, and ticket information click HERE.
18 January – UNSW Roundhouse | Sydney (Lic. AA)
20 January – The Croxton | Melbourne (18+)
21 January – Wrangler Studios | Melbourne (AA)
22 January – Altar | Hobart (18+)
24 January – The Gov | Adelaide (18+)
25 January – The Rosemount | Perth (18+)