Somewhere within the hollowed-out dead streets and crumbled skyline of a future apocalypse, the men in Gallows might find themselves still standing, dukes up and ready for more. That fierceness, impenetrable bravado and an attitude brimming with disgust was available to the pub masses on a balmy late afternoon at SXSW 2009. Frontman Frank Carter rocked a wifebeater, displayed neck ink and bailed on patience while holding court from the stage. His demands were plain and simple :The industry types should start up a circle pit. He waited and threatened, “If you don’t do it, I’m gonna come down there. Only I might start throwing some punches.”
Soon enough, the lonely drummer was the only band member left on the stage as the rest of the UK foursome were floorbound for the remainder of the set, swirling up their own pit in a blur of furious false starts, angry short cuts, and bits and bloody pieces of songs like “Vultures” from the new LP Grey Britain. There were also hardcore uppercuts like “In the Belly of a Shark” and “Kill the Rhythm” from their intense debut Orchestra of Wolves. The rawness percolated from underneath the net of camera flashes and video as the gig wound up.
Carter, along with his equally lanky and volatile brother Steph on guitar, knows they are a force to be reckoned with. Their incendiary live reputation and penchant for expanding the limits of hardcore have had a chokehold on the U.K. since the band’s formation in 2005. The stale Stateside concertgoer and punk elitist should take heed. Gallows are coming. Get in the pit or get out of the way.