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Gallows - White Rabbit, Plymouth - 5th August 2010 (Live Review)

Sunday, 08 August 2010 Written by Rob Sleigh

A few years ago, shortly after being voted the coolest person of 2007 by NME readers, Gallows’ vocalist and resident madman Frank Carter told the magazine that his band “won’t last five years”. However, it’s now been exactly five years since their formation and the Watford-based punk-rock group still appear to be going strong. Despite now being an unsigned band since splitting from Warner, following the release of last year’s ‘Grey Britain’, the five-piece have experienced a great deal of success, both here and abroad.

After two hugely popular albums, a Kerrang! Award, numerous tours across Europe and the US, and even an inclusion on Guitar Hero III, Gallows show no signs of calling it a day just yet. 2010 has already seen them supporting Rage Against the Machine at their free concert in Finsbury Park and, last month, the band announced yet another UK tour for this coming November.

For now though, Gallows have their minds set on another busy weekend of festival appearances, which will include Hevy in Kent and Blackpool’s Rebellion. Firstly, on Friday night, the band are due to perform a headlining set at the Relentless Boardmasters festival in Newquay, following tonight’s warm-up gig in nearby Plymouth.

Although Frank and co have become accustomed to playing slightly larger venues, the White Rabbit seems more suited to Gallows’ intimate and energetic performance style, which often finds Carter getting up close and personal with the mosh pit. Tonight, however, he chooses to leave the crowd-surfing to the fans, who seem more than happy to take up the role. Following a relatively modest entrance, the band kick-off the show with ‘Black Eyes’ from ‘Grey Britain’, their second album which, like their debut, was a collection of metal-infused punk-rock assaults that rarely allows the listener time to breathe.

ImageFor the next track ‘London is the Reason’, which Carter jokingly renames to suit his current location, the small but relentless frontman climbs onto a speaker, where he remains for much of the gig, to deliver his aggressively passionate vocals directly above the audience’s heads. At the end of the song, he pauses to observe the especially wild reaction from the crowd. “You animals!” he laughs. As always, Gallows manage to provoke a suitably unruly response in order to involve everyone into the spirit of the show. The front few rows are in a constant state of motion and the band frequently have to share a stage with several fans as mass stage-diving ensues.

Elsewhere during the performance, the manic crowd participation also finds people hanging from the low ceiling and joining a huge, whirling circle-pit that is instigated by Carter. For live favourite ‘In the Belly of a Shark’, taken from 2006’s ‘Orchestra of Wolves’, the heavily-tattooed singer makes his way over to the bar, from where he performs the song, and is joined by several crowd members who use it as a diving board. Other tracks played include ‘Abandon Ship’, ‘Come Friendly Bombs’ and a cover of ‘I Fought the Law’ by the Clash, which makes a welcome addition to the setlist.

The band leave the stage after closing with the title track from their debut album, but soon return to the delight of the baying fans. “We don’t do encores,” Frank states. “We’ve played twelve songs, but thirteen seems like a better number to end on.” They then finish with recent single ‘The Vulture’.

It’s been over a year since the release of ‘Grey Britain’, but it’s probably still too early to expect an announcement regarding the next Gallows offering anytime soon. Although Frank Carter may have claimed, in that NME interview, that his band are destined to be nothing more than a short-lived hobby, he also mentioned that he would like them to record a third album. Hopefully, this means that they are likely to be around for a little while longer but, for now, they seem content with continuing to prove themselves as one of the most explosive live acts in the country.

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