Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes Rock Webster Hall

After the roaring success of their latest album, Modern Ruin, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes made the trip across the pond for their first US tour, stopping by The Studio at Webster Hall along the way.

Opening up the evening were the tongue-in-cheek garage rock stylings of Royal Republic of Malmö, Sweden, followed by British post-grunge rockers, Dinosaur Pile-Up.

As Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes entered The Studio, they wasted no time in giving Webster Hall the madness they craved. Frank Carter himself threw his body around the stage and into the audience, within the rumble of the band and beyond the boom of his voice.Throughout the show, Carter could be seen being held above the audience by his ankles á la Iggy Pop in Cincinnati, 1970, crowd surfing on his back, and held up by his shoulders as his feet stomped on the ceiling. Carter is a daredevil, and he invited his fans to be the same, grabbing those who had made their way to the front by the head and sharing the mic as they sang along.

Towards the end of the show, he made a demand from the audience to make “the biggest circle pit Webster Hall has ever seen,” and thrill-seeking fans were more than happy to oblige, creating a stampede throughout the venue. Guitarist Dean Richardson could also bee seen getting up close and personal with fans during the show. The other Rattlesnakes that kept the music thumping through the night were Tank Barclay on bass, and Gareth Grover on drums.

While Carter’s antics on stage were outrageous and daring, he also proved himself to be a true gentleman. As he introduced a song written for his young daughter, he made a bold statement of solidarity with women everywhere. He invited women–only women–to come on stage to take a stage dive and crowd surf “without fear of being groped or touched inappropriately.” He then urged all of the men in the audience to support them, literally and figuratively, “not only because they could be someone’s daughter, or mother, or sister. But because they are your fucking equal.” As he spoke these words, a group of women gathered on stage with bright eyes filled with excitement and anticipation. Once the music started, these women leaped off stage as an excited frenzy ensued throughout the crowd, complete with these women riding the wave over everyone’s head.

To stand in front of a room that consisted of mostly men, drunk and hopped up on adrenaline, and make this kind of a statement is very risky. Carter could likely have been faced with fans walking out, or worst case scenario, getting violent. Thankfully, neither of these things happened and the show continued with everyone enjoying themselves. While making a strong statement could end badly for those on stage, it’s absolutely necessary, not only for women’s safety and comfort, but also in the ongoing struggle to be treated as equals inside the concert halls and everywhere else.

Another gesture Carter made towards the end of the show is a lesson in gratitude and humility for all bands that have moved into playing in larger arenas, and for larger crowds. He took a moment to acknowledge and thank everyone who made the show happen, including the stage crew, sound person, people working at the merch stands, photographers, security, ticket takers, and bar staff.

Beyond bands that play in small dive bars, it’s rare to see the people on stage give recognition to those who work tirelessly behind the scenes. Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes display a strong connection to everyone that supports them, and although they put on an extravagantly wild show, moments like these are what make the band a class act.

Michelle Eliza
Michelle Eliza
Michelle Eliza is a recovering opera singer, who sought recovery in rock n roll music and roller derby. Michelle moved to New York City after earning her bachelor degree in music from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. After a few years singing in operatic productions, Michelle exchanged heels and high notes for wheels and loud noises. She currently lives in Brooklyn where she sings with the rock band Schmeeze.