Thriving with punk vigour and lots of sweat and blood: Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes Live at The Sebright Arms for Jack Saunders

Thunderous, sweaty moshpits at any gig are always something special; try that at a secret Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes gig in East London’s tiniest underground venue, the Sebright Arms. Presented by Jack Saunders, whose radio show on BBC1 and Hopscotch gig nights have a seminal reputation for introducing people to the best fresh new talent the DIY scene has to offer, the event featured live sets from Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and support from three bands who could all battle it out for the prize of best new artist in the UK (and come out even); Calva Louise, Kid Kapichi, & Weird Milk. In attendance, members of Nova Twins and Strange Bones were at the gig, as well as a multitude of DIY writers and photographers who have always played an integral part to gigs at the Sebright Arms, and the live circuit it supports

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Calva Louise by Keira Cullinane

Opening up the night, we were introduced to Weird Milk, a wonderfully tight and vehement act. So tight and meticulous in their playing, each track was ethereal in nature. Weird Milk create a very unique and special strand of music, with each track twisting and evolving as it goes on; this quality is extremely elusive as it requires completely perfect synchronicity in a band, something Weird Milk do with ease. What struck me most about their set was how strongly they felt the music. To love and enjoy playing is one thing, but you could see the passion and emotion on their faces as they physically felt and understood the music, a feeling which certainly translated across to the audience. Their sound embodies, on a first listen, am ambiguous retro vibe, each track nodding its head to 60s/70s rock’n’roll, yet the freshness and youthfulness of it makes it feel a lot more modern; dreamily ethereal, the band’s sultry hedonism is delicately tapped back into a more sharp focus, and the clean and clever way in which their tracks work could entice me forever. The vocal range of Zach and Alex was a joy to listen to also, flitting from dreamy harmonies to more scarring and vivacious projections – Weird Milk have today released their new single Anything You Want, and it’s a beauty. Listen and stream here

Kid Kapichi were the next band to play, and they bulldozed ahead, obliterating the stage to shards in the process. Striking and provocative, there was a naturally feral, raucous angst embedded in their set. A distinctive contrast to Weird Milk, the vocals are a lot more hammering and aggressive, wild old school punk shouting used to build up hype and a sense of violent on-stage anguish. The energy Kid Kapichi have was unbelievable, the untamed raw intensity no doubt fuelled by the mosh pits and head banging in the audience with ensued the second the band took to the stage. The cramped sweaty nature of the venue was all the more accentuated as they played, with the audience getting rowdier and more passionate as their set went on. Almost like cult-classics, each track Kid Kapichi played was drowned out by deafening audience reactions, fans screaming along and moshing in perfect sync with the thudding riffs and spitting lyrics. It was a cocky and abrasive set, wonderfully punk in all senses of the word. Howling and explosive, please keep an eye on the band who are building for themselves a shit-hot reputation in the world of alt-punk

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Kid Kapichi by Keira Cullinane

And the ‘headliners’ of the night were old favourites, Calva Louise. Fresh off the release of their debut album Rhinoceros, Calva Louise have spent the last couple of months storming through the UK with sold out shows and blow off live events, including a string of dates with Kid Kapichi prior to last night. As always, the band excelled, and they seem to do this every time I see them live; the tightness of Alizon and Jess (bass and lead guitar respectively) was particularly strong last night, the impeccable sharpness of Ben’s drumming complimenting every fuzzy twist and turn Jess chose to take. The band played a chunk of their album material, Getting Closer and I’m Gonna Do Well naturally making an appearance, as well as favorites of mine No Hay, Outrageous and Cruel Girl. The sonic buzz saw riffs paired with Jess’s screeching glass shard vocals give the band a gritty scathing edge, and paired with the impeccable sound engineering from the band’s sound guy Alex, it’s near impossible for this band to sound bad. They fuse clever pop licks with a dirty punk valour, and this buzzing distorted sound shook the venue to bits last night

Calva Louise by Keira Cullinane

And then, for the final act of the night. This act had been announced and advertised as Tyrant Lizard King, which is actually the title of a 2019 Rattlesnakes track, and there was a lot of speculation as to who this band was in the run up to the gig – there had been a few rumours flying around, and certainly some word of mouth buzz, but no one could have predicted that they would be spending their Tuesday night watching Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes in a 150 capacity venue. The intimacy of the set was overwhelming, mostly due to the fact that the Rattlesnakes inevitably have rowdy circle pits, crowd surfing, and moshing, which was amplified a hundred times over in such a small space. Sweat and blood bounced off the ceiling, which as gross as it sounds was an integral part to the wonderful atmosphere inside the room. Drenched in sweat, Frank Carter was crowdsurfing from the first track in, his hands and feet climbing along the ceiling as crazed fans moshed and jumped underneath him, in beat to the hectic riotous riffs from the band. They played one of the best set lists I’ve seen them play, their set including tracks like Juggernaut, I Hate You, Wild Flowers, Lullaby, Devil Inside Me, and Crowbar. Pounding and intense, nothing really beats a Rattlesnakes pit; when the band played Jackals, lead guitarist Dean jumped out into the middle of the pit, with fans running a circle pit around him. And in true Frank Carter style also, he had a girls only mosh pit at one point in the gig, whilst imploring the vital importance of gigs (of all places) being a safe space for women. As intense and wild as ever, this was easily the best, and sweatiest, Rattlesnakes gig I’ve been to

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes by Esme Bones, courtesy of Discovered Magazine

Blinding and raucous from the very start, Jack Saunders smashed it with his line-up, and remains one of the best people in the rock industry for discovering new bands…or just for helping you see four of your favourite artists for free in a tiny venue. Keep up to date with him and his wonderful work here here

Photos by the incredible Keira Cullinane & Esme Bones

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