Have you ever had a nightmare where you are supposed to be sitting an exam, but you have no pens or paper? Or driving down a dark and desolate road and your car breaks down? That’s the only thing I could compare to the feeling of being stood in a photo pit, surrounded by professional photographers ready to shoot and my camera not turning on. The sudden dread of realising I left my camera battery at home was a moment I will never forget.
So, a run, many frantic phone calls and some flatmate bribery later, I had my battery delivered to me. Just in time for the second band of the evening, Strange Bones. And strange they were indeed. A topless man in a balaclava, screaming “Theresa May is a fucking terrorist,” in a church is not exactly how I thought I would be spending my evening.
However, despite this they played an enjoyable set filled with ferocious, in your face political punk. With huge riffs, and anthemic choruses and raw vocals, it was easy to see why they have been getting lots of attention over the last few months. The energy and passion behind their music is clear to see. Their delivery is almost like a slap to the face. They have a lot to say and they aren’t going to let anyone tell them they are wrong.
Once everyone had a second to breathe, it was time for ex-Gallows front man’s new project, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. I had high expectations as I had heard so many great things about his live show prior to the gig. I can honestly say I was blown away. From the first note to the last it was more than just a rock show; it was a performance. Excuse the pun, but it truly felt like Carter was the preacher and the crowd were his congregation.
Opening with Snake Eyes from latest album Modern Ruin the crowd were instantly connected. Carter certainly knows how to work a crowd, he radiates an incredible amount of energy, looking almost manic at times. Yet, the crowd loved it and fed off it. Two songs into the set and all photographers were kicked out of the photo pit due to the number of crowd surfers coming over the barrier. It wasn’t long before Carter decided to join the crowd in the madness, walking upon the hands of the crowd, in which he has become infamous for.
The set featured a large amount of songs off the new album, however, unlike most bands, nobody seemed to be dismayed by this, gaining an equal reaction to songs from Modern Ruin and debut album Blossom. The more melodic tracks of Modern Ruin like Lullaby and Vampires sounded huge and fitted upon a larger stage. Whilst the heavier, harder hitting tracks of Blossom like Devil Inside of Me and Juggernaut still hold their place in the set.
Wrapping up the night with I Hate You, there was a real irony of a song like that being performed in a church. It appeared that everyone left the venue exhausted yet in awe of what they had just witnessed – a true spectacle. A reminder that hard core and punk music is well and truly still alive and here to stay.