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20th February 2024

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes live in Manchester: An ecstatic night of rock with the ‘Man of The Hour’

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes return to Manchester Academy after two years, bringing a night of moshpits and mayhem
Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes live in Manchester: An ecstatic night of rock with the ‘Man of The Hour’
Photo credit: Ella Sofuoglu @ The Mancunion

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes took to the stage at Manchester Academy yet again: with a helping hand from Hot Wax and The Mysterines, the crowd was charmed into an ecstatic night of rock music. The venue was overjoyed with bopping heads, coloured hair, and tattoos. Younger listeners mainly assembled in groups, as the older enthusiasts interwove them in couples.

Anticipation quickly terminated as the audience caught a glimpse of Carter, standing assertively in front of the bright red lights in his black suit. ‘Can I Take You Home’ was the first song in the set, serving as the perfect introduction to Dark Rainbow with its intimate lyricism and zestful instrumental. Carter’s gratitude for the crowd was communicated through his dazing stage presence as he encouraged fans to dance with him before performing new singles ‘Brambles’ and ‘Self Love’.

Photo credit: Adam Hagar

Songs from every album were cautiously threaded into a seamless setlist with immense variety, pleasing every ear. From early fans who were delighted by the heavy angst of Blossom, to more recent fans who appreciate the intertwining of tender vocals with the turmoil of rattling strings. After their triadic parade of Dark Rainbow, ‘Devil Inside Me’ spawned the entire room into a state of uproar; every single hand raised without hesitation, clapping synchronically with the song. Flickers of green light interspersed the red as the chorus approached, wrestling for attention on stage; yet Carter’s vigorous acceleration into the air conquered everyone’s gaze.

If there’s one thing about Frank Carter, it’s the ability to hypnotise the audience into playing their part mechanically; giving every song its own distinctive life through their role in his atmospheric games. The female-only moshpit during ‘Wild Flowers’ is a persistent tradition, and Carter made sure of it: “This moshpit is for the ladies only!”. Women soared carelessly in the centre of the room, fuelled innately by the security of each other’s compassion.

Photo credit: Adam Hagar

‘Wild Flowers’ wasn’t the only song that was precisely dedicated that night, Carter and The Rattlesnakes had a mid-set surprise up their sleeves. Prefaced with “This one’s for you Manchester!”, ‘My Town’ indisputably served its purpose as the central track of the setlist maximally. The crowd joined the band to fill in for the unfortunate absence of Joe Talbot, screaming the bridge as proudly as they could before they stumbled into moshpits for the final chorus.

Everyone unanimously fell into a silent trance during ‘Sun Bright Golden Happening’, red lights bathed the stage when Dean Richardson took a seat in front of the keyboard, blessing the room with every sacred press. Mayhem resumed after this pleasant interruption, but the brief acoustic chorus of ‘Happier Days’ reconciled the balladry of Dark Rainbow; optimistic chants curated a two-way serenade.

Photo credit: Ella Sofuoglu @ The Mancunion

‘Original Sin’ tricked the audience into climactic interaction, with Carter and the band disappearing after his crowd-surf hand-stand had everyone’s arms waiting to catch him. Fans dominated through “I hate you” in the encore, scorching their lungs, their hearts devoted pompously to resentment. And with that, the ‘Man of The Hour’ ended the set with a self-referential, ironic twist, performing a Third single from Dark Rainbow which addressed his dedication to authenticity.

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