Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes | Black Futures – 21st February 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank – Review and photos

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

Feature by Graeme J. Baty

It is hard to believe it’s been three and a half years since the last time I saw Frank Carter (see that feature here). That was at The Cluny and was a very extraordinary night, a blend of utter chaos and sheer rock ‘n’ roll fun, it seemed like the band were on the cusp of a huge breakthrough and they were enjoying every moment of it. Now in 2019, they return to Newcastle as part of a run of intimate UK shows in the same vein as the Cluny, back before their popularity exploded.

It’s a nice chance for fans who missed the early days to see them in the most ideal setting which allows them to get up close and connect to their audience. There is something quite detaching about larger scale shows and I think that’s the point of these gigs, since they play huge venues and festivals now, they want to re-establish that connection to the fans and be in the thick of the action. It’s an experience to behold.

There’s an air of excitement and maybe a little tension in the air as the venue begins to fill. Black Futures opened, I believe it was supposed to be Estrons but a recent implosion meant they have called it a day. I knew very little of Black Futures other than people struggle to explain their sound due to the incredible diversity of their material. Intriguing!

Watching the band I was struck with how brave FC and TR are for bringing this band on tour with them. They are fucking incredible and surely no band would like to follow them? Such a powerful act as just a two piece but they bring in some performers decked in dust suits and sunglasses, waving flags to help engage the crowd and add an air of mystery to the show. It really reminded me of Ministry, particularly when they burst in the first song of the set (a song called ‘Love’ I believe, could be wrong) which has a highly anarchic industrial vibe to it. Just when you think you’ve figured this band out hey jump sounds and pummel you with Trance a beautiful power pop number. Simply put they are one of the best acts I’ve seen in many years. A separate photo feature will follow for their set 🙂

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

Think Tank has to be the most perfect small venue for Frank Carter, with its close tight space, low stage and relaxed approach to hardcore shows. The band and the audience can go there and know they’ll be looked after and go wild (within reason of course), everyone is there for a good time and that’s what we get. Tonight is a first for me, I’ve never seen a barrier in this venue but as soon as the music started it became apparent why, with waves of crowd surfers cascading over the crowd and safely over barrier, a good call!

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

No one can hold the audience in the palm of their hand quite like Frank Carter. Phones aloft, fans enjoying every moment of this rare chance to get up close and personal with the band. With fans screaming the lyrics back to him, he seemed utterly in his element, loving every moment. Master of ceremonies, orchestrator of the chaos encouraging fans to crowd surf and look after each other. Defusing any male testosterone and crowd killing stupidity, gigs should be like this, go wild, look after each other and have a great time. It was great to see people doing just that and also to see Frank encourage a few female first-time crowd surfers. Just a brilliant atmosphere to witness.

Frank took some timeout to discuss Anxiety and it was quite an eye-opening experience to see how many people raised their hands when asked how many people had been affected by it. That’s the magic of live music, it brings you all together and although I’m also struggling with my own anxiety (I nearly didn’t make this gig due to it) it made me appreciate the power of music and the sheer delight that can be had just by letting go for a few hours at a concert.

The setlist is a mixed bag of songs covering their first two albums and some material from their upcoming 2019 album End of Suffering, they opened by bursting into Crowbar from it. They’d actually play that one twice, a trick that they’ve done before and it gets a great reaction from the crowd. Dedicating Tyrant Lizard King to Theresa May raised a great laugh!

Juggernaut got an airing tonight. Apparently, they’ve been leaving this out of the setlist on purpose to see if they can get by without it. I’m sure they can but I was buzzing to hear it.

Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes – 21st Feb 2019 – Newcastle Think Tank

I must admit I’ve lost touch with the music after the first album. The cathartic release of the Blossom album really appealed to me and the music that followed is much more rounded and anthemic, more in tune with Pure Love than say his hardcore roots. In a live setting, the songs are incredibly powerful and a Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes gig is hugely potent, inspiring and exhilarating. They are quite rightly considered as one of the best live bands on the planet.


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Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes -22nd October 2015 Newcastle Cluny

The juggernaut comes to Newcastle. I anticipated this show would be great. But the truth is I didn’t expect it to be quite as mad as it turned out. The wildest Cluny show I’ve ever seen and will easily make my top 10 gigs of this year.



A lot has changed since Frank last played Newcastle, having played with his pop-rock project Pure Love early 2014, who are now on ‘hiatus’. He returns to the Cluny with his new act Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes. This band take him back to his hardcore punk roots. Their debut album was released in the summer and has become a favourite of mine. It took a few plays to fully digest and appreciate it. It is not just a Gallows MK II (although some similarities of course), they have their own identity, great songs and one of the best frontmen around.

The songs are short, powerful and catchy as hell. They’ve been selling out shows across the UK and seem to have had a better reception than Gallows latest incarnation. I do love both periods of Gallows (in fact saw them twice this year around the country!). Wade brought a new life to Gallows and transformed them into something different, yet still clearly Gallows. That spilt a lot of fans, some love it, some hate it, some, like me adore both periods. Pure Love didn’t appeal to me musically, so I was keen to hear this new project in person. 

As mentioned the show is sold out. People were hanging around the bar desperate to buy any spare tickets. This is going to be a wild night and I can’t wait to witness it. They have only been a band since February 2015 and they only have about eleven songs, so a fast intense set was anticipated. Their shortage of material didn’t stop them playing an extended set, one new song (‘Jackals’, I believe it was called, it was class!), and they played two songs twice each!

‘Loss’ was played as both the raucous hardcore number and a soul searching stripped back version where Frank gathered fans in the middle of the floor, where he explained the poignancy of the song, delivering it with such feeling and pain. He looked visibly shaken singing it, as if tears could roll out at any moment. The audience circled around him, you could hear a pin drop, fans captivated by his performance. In such a wild frenzied show it was a welcome break and highlights the depth of his songwriting skill.

The crowd’s reaction seemed to thrill the band. I must admit I’ve been to hundreds of shows in Newcastle and I have never witnessed a Toon audience let themselves go this much. We had circle pits, a wall of death, crowd surfing, all the punk rock trimmings. Newcastle audiences usually make bands work for their applause, even the support bands tonight (Creeper and Blackhole) were made to work for a reaction.

I have to mention this… hats off to Paddy the security, who had the task of monitoring the mosh pit. Frank brought him up on stage and encouraged him to stage dive. Fair play Paddy went for it and he looked like he enjoyed it too. Top bloke!

‘Devil Inside Me’ ended the night, which they’d already played earlier in the set. But that is fine by me, bloody brilliant song, that speaks to me on many levels. Smiles all round in the venue as Frank stormed out the door and headed to meet fans outside.

The stage banter provided a few hints of bitter feuds, dramas and past events. Whilst he never named who those were aimed at, it’s not hard to connect the dots. It’s safe to say Frank has something to prove with this new band, as he stares out into the crowd with a mad glint in his eye, you can tell he means business.

Frank stated that this show was the best he’s ever played. Yes, EVER.

So yes, even on his own, Frank IS a juggernaut. An utterly brilliant show. 15 quid well spent.

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