Joensuu Finland 15th–17th Jul 2016

Finland’s slowest circle pit and sitting down with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes arrived from UK for their Finnish debut to close out the evening in the Metelli tent. The band's singer Frank Carter is a real-life example on how one can be a gentle and considerate fellow dressed in floral suit, and yet throw down a kick-ass punk gig.

The florid Mr Carter in his floral suit. Photo: Sampsa Geijer

As Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes are preparing to step on the Metelli Stage, the festival-goers gradually stream in to the tent. While many stroll confidently right in front of the stage, some seem a bit more hesitant and hang back towards the back of the tent, perhaps not quite sure what they’re about to get themselves into. Considering how the band was formed as recently as 2015, it’s understandable how their name may not have reached the icy shores of Finland quite yet. Nevertheless, some may already be acquainted with the singer Frank Carter from his previous band Gallows. As such, it’s likely that Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes already has some pre-existing fans, and their current venture is bound to bring in new ones.

The crowd is already starting to get loud and pumping itself up by kicking and swinging at the air before the gig has even started. The very instant when the band is scheduled to step on to the stage, the people in the front rows are already screaming the singer’s name. There is an air of uneasiness hovering over the tent, because the start of the gig gets delayed slightly; it’s very much worth the wait, however.

The band channels all their energy and unleashes it from the first moments into their aggressive hardcore punk delivery. During the first song, Juggernaut, the overall atmosphere in the crowd is still fairly calm apart from the people in the front row. When the song finishes, Carter urges everyone to step closer to the stage. As the next song, Trouble, hits the crowd, they are already starting to get into the groove. By the time the catchy Devil Inside Me is playing, even the people hanging back at the edges of the tent are starting to realize that they’re in for a wild ride.

Dark, distressing subject matters and lyrics. Crazy movement, such as mimicking getting hung. Should one only see a part of the gig or only listen to the songs without bothering to get to know the musicians, one might think that the band is filled with raving lunatics with no regard for others. Listening to Carter speak in-between songs provides a stark contrast, however – it is apparent that we are dealing with fine gentlemen who are intelligent and down-to-earth people. The band dedicates some of their songs to the crew working in Ilosaarirock as well as to their audience.

The song Beautiful Death is dedicated to the love ones that we have lost. Carter himself dedicates the song to his father-in-law, who tragically passed away before his grandchild was born. The singer walks into the middle of the crowd and asks everyone to sit down on the ground and quiet down for the duration of the song. Later on in the gig, he crowd surfs standing up on top of the crowd. Overall, we were treated to a master class in audience interaction.

Carter likes to get personal with the crowd. Photo: Sampsa Geijer

– This is supposed to be fun, Carter reminds the crowd as he shepherds them into a large pit at the centre of the tent.

We need to look out after one another. If someone falls down in the pit, we need to pick them immediately. Since the crowd proved that they don’t know how to do a fast circle pit, Carter demanded that they will instead do the slowest circle pit that Finland has ever seen. This results in the crowd trying their best to slow down their pacing while the high-speed music rages at full force.

I Hate You closes the gig and the crowd shouts along. Before the song begins, Carter shares a bit of wisdom with the crowd:

– We all have a special someone in our lives. Someone who is a total fucking cunt. This song is dedicated to those people. But remember that to someone else out there, you are probably that person.

The gig is all about loud music, venting out aggression, getting a little bit sentimental and having a laugh. It’s the perfect mix.

Text: Anna Mikkonen
Photos: Sampsa Geijer
Translation: Mika Alaoutinen

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