FRANK CARTER & THE RATTLESNAKES + Cancer Bats. Fowler’s Live, Adelaide. 06-02-2018.


Words Will Oakeshott.

There is a quote by the infamous and supposed anonymous UK-based graffiti artist Banksy that states: “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” – this in retrospect, operates as a very suiting theme for what transpired at this event. The South Australian summer had certainly exposed its true colours providing sauna-like conditions, which was quite the opposite from both touring bands’ current home weather statuses (UK and Canada respectively). Landing on a Tuesday evening was also more of a predicament in terms of attendance, with spectator numbers being best described as dozens initially. However, art, more specifically punk music was never about “comfort”; truthfully it is more likened to rebellion, the underground and discomposure. So essentially these “conditions” as it were, surmised to an accommodating scenario.

For Canada’s sludge-hardcore-punks Cancer Bats it did not matter if there was eight people or 80 people watching, nor if the temperature were searching for zero (get it?) or near volcanic conditions; actually to be perfectly descriptive, these four Canucks were the volcano and from the first step onto the Fowler’s Live stage, they erupted. They were here to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed and did so with a brilliant monstrous finesse that they’re globally adored for. ‘Road Sick’ introduced the onslaught of destruction CB are renowned for, but this was just the beginning of the “spirit elevating” set the quartet provided. ‘Scared To Death’ supplied the necessary unsettling and boosted crowd involvement (thankfully). This advancement only gained momentum throughout the performance from both band and audience alike with favourites such as: ‘Drunken Physics’, the cherished Beastie Boys cover of ‘Sabotage’, the excellently eerie ‘Beelzebub’, ‘Pneumonia Hawk’, the anthem that is ‘Hail Destroyer’ (with a sneaky guest vocal inclusion from Adam Geisler formerly of A Ghost Orchestra) and to close ‘Bricks And Mortar’. Frontman, the ever likeable and gentlemanly Liam Cormier was a man possessed throughout the blistering and boiling show, which was only enhanced by the remainder of the ‘Bats and truthfully it was all over a little too soon. So Cancer Bats, please Make Amends as soon as possible and return to our shores with hopefully some Bat Sabbath to really Firecrack this.

Extraordinarily the audience had grown exponentially in time for the headline act. Access to the stage or at least near its proximity was practically impossible; it had been a couple of years since the legendary and treasured punk maverick Frank Carter had visited Australia, but this amplification was a very pleasant surprise. In pure appreciation and gratefulness, Mr Carter and his Rattlesnakes delivered the best “thank you” they were capable of, with a near riot of expansive punk music. Possessing a small frame but a gigantic presence, Frank Carter was a force likeable to a hurricane both on and off the stage. He stomped the ground with such ferocity he shook the room, he swung and failed his entire body about that he created devastating winds, and most importantly he sung and screamed so viciously and tenderly when need be, that all Adelaide could do was marvel at his seamlessly never-ending talent.

With only two albums released thus far in the band’s career, the four-piece were on a mission to play every song from that excellent repertoire that both time and their bodies would permit them to; but this was not rushed, not by any means. It was in fact, above heartfelt; each song was narrated prior to being played on what inspired Frank to write the lyrics, whether fatherhood, the political state of the world, mental health, terrorism, crowd safety, love, loss and everything else that life is able to challenge and reward us with each and every day. Not only did it provide a window to his mind and soul, it accentuated the importance of each track. ‘Fangs’, ‘Juggernaut’, ‘Wild Flowers’, ‘Lullaby’, ‘Trouble’, ‘God Is My Friend’, ‘Acid Veins’, ‘Snake Eyes’, ‘Devil Inside Me’ and ‘I Hate You’ were brash, dignified and most of all electrifying.

The involvement Mr Carter commits to his performance has not faltered at all, he incited a circle pit around himself and guitarist Dean Richardson while offstage, he crowd surfed more than the crowd actually did and he wore himself ragged to ensure Adelaide were thanked properly for being there.

With an unplanned encore of ‘Loss’ which exposed so much about the man of the evening, it was a harrowing yet beautiful farewell that was beyond sincere, it was divinely memorable. Consider South Australia thankfully disturbed and well above comfortable after witnessing Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.