I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to see Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes on Wednesday night at the Hard Luck Bar in Toronto. I was so excited that I made the six-hour bus trek from Montreal to see them, as there was no date in Montreal. My expectations were high, from the videos and images I’ve seen over the past two years of them performing all over Europe. Finally, they were going to invade North America.
Royal Republic was the first to go on at 8pm sharp. Hailing from Malmö, Sweden, this band came to rock! From the first note we knew that we were in for a good ol’ time! Their set was short, full of energy, and made me wonder why this was the first time I heard about these guys! This was their first ever show in Canada, and they have been a band since 2007. Their sound is upbeat, full of harmonies, and just awesome! Their lead singer Adam Grahn is charismatic, inviting, and always has a huge smile that shows he loves what he does. This band is a great discovery for sure. The highlights were “Baby,” a quick cover of Metallica’s “Battery” dedicated to the other bands on the bill, and “Full Steam Spacemachine.” Give them a listen, I promise it will be worth your time if you like rock and roll!
It was now time for Dinosaur Pile-up to take the stage. This trio from London looked like they came straight out of the nineties grunge era, and as the music started I was like, whoa! Their sound is heavy and grungy, yet vocalist Matt Bigland’s voice is timeless. These guys are both tight and sloppy (if that is even possible!) You can tell they are influenced by the 90s rockers; I found the vocals reminded me of Smashing Pumpkins, their look reminded me of Nirvana, and their music just made me happy! They put on a solid set and were yet another great discovery. Gotta love UK rock music! The highlights of their set were “Peninsula, ” the song “11:11,” and “White T-Shirt,” which sounds like an anthem for all the white-collar workers around the world.
Now it was time for the main course, Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes who were also playing for the very first time in Canada. I hadn’t been this excited in a long time. Camera in hand, I waited in the front row for the madness that would come next. As the lights dimmed I took a deep breath. This was actually happening! I braced myself for the impact since, judging from videos, the crowds can get pretty rowdy! Out came the Rattlesnakes, then Frank, wearing his signature blue blazer and looking ready to tear into the crowd. They started the night with “Trouble” followed by “Juggernaut.” Frank then warned us that the next song was a crowd-surfing song, but that there was one rule: only women. He preached respect for woman (sad that this has to be mentioned, and much praise to Frank for calling men out, saying we are the problem), then tore into “Modern Ruin,” which was masterful.
Through all this madness, I tried to take some shots to document the evening while staying safe in the crowd. I made it out in one piece, put my camera away, and joined the massive circle pit! The energy in this room was insane. At one point Dean Richardson (guitarist) dove into the crowd, Frank joined the madness, and while both crowd-surfing they knocked the ceiling out. Complete chaos! It was perfect and everything I expected from a Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes concert!
As if the night couldn’t get any greater, Frank stopped the show as someone had lost his glasses. The owner of the lost glasses yelled out, “It’s ok!”, but Frank disagreed and had everyone look for the glasses. In the meantime, another guy yelled that he lost his key. Well, shit! Both the glasses and the keys were recovered, the glasses intact. Another funny moment was when a fan wearing an ASSMAN shirt tried to take a selfie with Frank. He grabbed his phone and tried to work the camera, but was unsuccessful saying, “Fuck Samsung!” and prompting some cheers from the crowd. The guys asked if it was ok to do a stage jump (sic), and Frank burst out laughing; he had never heard of a stage jump – try stage dive, sir.
They played all their best songs from their new album Modern Ruin and their debut album Blossom. Some highlights for me were “Vampires,” “Snake Eyes,” “Devil Inside Me,” and “Paradise,” a song dedicated to the 89 people who lost their life in Paris while enjoying live music. They also played the song that made me discover Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes in the first place, the best HATE SONG of all time, “I Hate You,” which was performed brilliantly and ended a brilliant show.
I’m thankful I made it to the show; it was everything I expected and more. Their music is better enjoyed live, and it shows. I leave you on this note: if you love a musical act and have a chance to see them live, do it! Take a road trip if they’re not in your city and see them. Don’t wait for that someday, as it may never come and you will regret not going to that show. Now go out and enjoy live music and see one, if not all, of these bands next time they come to your city!
Written and Photographed by Eric Brisson Eric Brisson Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson