BARROWLAND BALLROOM – GLASGOW 22nd NOVEMBER 2021
Frank Carter returned to Glasgow’s famous Barrowland Ballroom, after 18 months, to another packed venue. He had relished the gig upon his first visit and even more so this time after being in lockdown since early last year. With a new album just released, he and his co-conspirator Dean Richardson had been kept busy during this time. Frank drafted in a few guest artists for the new album “Sticky” and two of them were part of the show.
Cassyette has a striking look. Her long blonde locks, spiked on top, were complemented with a goth/punk look. Her other two band members certainly had a Rockstar look about them as well. The electro-infused pup punk/metal kicked off a high energy night in Glasgow. Cass has released a number of singles throughout the lockdown in 2020/21 and they tested the Soundsystem to its limits. The heavy low sub-bass frequencies had the entire building reverberating. The live drums and edgy metal guitar brought the heavy electro backing tracks alive and Cass used the music platform to sing of personal loss and society’s brainwashing and alienation of anyone wanting to express themselves. Highlights of the night were “Dark Goth”, “Petrichor” and the huge dramatic sounding “Prison Purse”.
Lynks, electro/EDM drag pop with some real self-deprecating humour. In your face, challenging, smart and funny. With some wacky choreography from what looked like rag doll dancers, it was nearly 30 minutes of pure entertainment. Lynks commented that he thought he looked like a character from the computer game “Little Big Planet”. There’s been a different mask every performance and knitwear seemed to be the theme. Lockdown has seen a lot of singles and EP’s being released from DIY artists and Lynks has followed the trend. But that’s where any trend following finishes as the music is very different from the mainstream. The tongue in cheek look at life, “How to be successful” kicked off the night. Taken from an EP “Smash Hit’s vol:1” it certainly amused the busy room. The crowd had filled the venue in preparation for the main act but certainly got more than they bargained for. Lynks has polarised opinions at some venues but not Glasgow. The welcome was warm and the non-stop visuals from the provocative dancing was eye-opening at times. Lynks engaged with the crowd to the point of staring at one young man on the barrier and jokingly inviting him backstage, much to the amusement of the crowd. It of course was done “In the best possible taste” to quote Kenny Everett’s outlandish old TV comedy character. With songs like “Everyone’s hot and I’m not” and “Str8 Acting”, Lynks wants to challenge but be himself. The mask allows him to freely express himself and that he did, in raptures.
The massive stage in Glasgow suited Frank Carter’s performance as he could mark every inch of his territory with ease. Unfortunately, the chaos had to be controlled as Frank came on sporting a sling on his left arm. An injury picked up on tour a few days previous but he would soldier on. The crowd were already suitably loosened up for him arriving and just as well as he opened with “My Town” from the new album “Sticky”. No Joe Talbot (IDLES)who duets on the album but Frank carried it off on his own. The crowd had the famous bouncy floor of the ballroom in full use right from the start. The new album would feature heavily throughout the night but there were of course some essential favourites slotted into the set. “Wild Flowers” and “Tyrant Lizard King” were up next as the early album essential songs had been replaced with the more accessible singalong tunes.
There was still enough for the hard-core fans and the new album certainly goes some way to retain them. There are some great new songs on the latest album and “Cupids Arrow” is one of them. Cassyette made a welcome reappearance for “Off with his head” as she joined Frank on stage to sing their duet live. Of course, it’s not all about Frank, as the Rattlesnakes are part of his DNA and non-more so than Dean Richardson, who almost commands as much attention as Frank as he wields his Fender Telecaster-like a weapon. Both Dean and Frank ventured over the barrier on separate occasions but it was almost one-way traffic as the constant crowd surfing over the barrier tested the security to the max. Franks customary stand-up surf of the crowd, saw him orchestrate proceedings right in the heart of the mosh pit. There were some hilarious moments as he would rip into some of the audience for either grabbing at him or getting a bit too boisterous.
Frank demands a safe space for his fans and he watched over them like a hawk. One lad, Calum, held up a sign berating Frank and it was enough to earn him a song on the stage. To be fair, he murdered “Devil Inside” but the crowd loved the banter. Thankfully, Frank took ownership of the mic and Calum launched himself from the stage and back into the pit, a fair achievement as Frank commented his days of attempting to fly that gap are over! Another duet and this time it was Lynks who returned to the stage, resplendent in a red sparkling figure-hugging sequined bodysuit, complete with a devil mask and horns. He stole the show with “Go get a Tattoo”, another new song from the “Sticky” album. Frank took a few moments to recall the last time he was in Glasgow and how up to that point, he was on a high but during that period, his personal life altered and ultimately took him to the edge of his sanity. He wrote the song “Take It to The Brink” based on this testing time. The main set was closed out with “I Hate You”, as Frank intimated, he couldn’t leave it out of the set as he had done during the tour, but being in Scotland, he wanted to hear the crowd in full voice singing it back at him and they didn’t disappoint.
It took a few minutes for the band to return and Frank laughed at the crowd for singing “one more song” as he told them to sing “three more songs!!!” and not short sell themselves. So, three more it was and the Glasgow crowd showed why so many bands never miss out the barrowlands. The crowd loved “Crowbar” and they made the most of the extended set. The night closed out with “Original Sin”, the final song from “Sticky” and another song that has a duet but unfortunately, Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) was not in attendance. A local son of Glasgow but the crowd more than made up for his absence.
Follow Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes