A great experience for fans and musicians alike
VIcky Greer
19:08 14th November 2020

Punk rock favourites Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes played a different kind of gig on Friday night (13 November). They weren’t in front of a crowd of screaming fans, at least not in the conventional sense. Nor were they playing a typical lockdown acoustic set straight from a band member's home. The band instead played a state-of-the-art virtual reality gig, live from London’s O2 Brixton Academy, the latest in a series of VR gigs put on by MelodyVR.

Although the technology takes a bit of time to get used to, it was a really enjoyable, surprisingly energetic experience. Performing to an empty venue with just a screen full of faces as your audience is no easy feat, but Frank Carter & The Rattlesnake’s unrelenting energy was infectious, and it was hard not to get caught up in the moment. Watching the band jump around the stage and chat to the fans who were watching them, you could just have easily been watching a regular, in-person gig.

The setlist was specially curated by fans, and in turn was relentless for the band and the audience, and the lively performance was unwavering in its passion and enthusiasm. Fan-favourites like ‘Fire’ brought a special kind of life to a show where interaction with the audience was the priority of the night. The few times where the music slowed were when Frank Carter was telling stories about the band’s history, preceding more poignant tracks like ‘Anxiety’ that speak of deeply personal experiences.

The powerhouse finale saw the band end the night with a few of their most popular songs ‘Kitty Sucker’, ‘Crowbar’ and ‘I Hate You’ (which was, of course, dedicated to Coronavirus). It was clear from the get-go that a lot of hard work had gone into making this gig a great experience for fans and musicians alike.

Even for viewers who were inexperienced in VR technology, the Director’s Cut camera options meant you could see the best of the action, as if you were on stage with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes yourself. Although it will never live up to the raw energy of seeing the band in the flesh, the set was an excellent placeholder until we can all get back in the pit again.

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Photo: Thomas Green