Gallows have emerged from the loss of their lead singer as a seriously lean, mean menacing machine. Indeed, some of their shows since the loss of Frank Carter have been properly, stonkingly wild – their recent show in Glasgow being no exception. Jules Boyle was at this show to check it out for us.
When Gallows parted company with frontman Frank Carter last year, it could easily have been a fatal blow. Scrawny, ginger and with barely an inch of uninked flesh, the iconic frontman was a feral presence both onstage and on record, one that seemed like an irreplaceable element of what made the Watford band such a breath of fresh air to the UK hardcore scene. Citing the old “musical differences” line, Carter left to form Pure Love, an altogether more commercial proposition leaving Gallows looking for a new singer.
Fortunately for all concerned, they found Wade MacNeil. The former Alexisonfire man was not only a more than adequate replacement, his addition sees Gallows at their most intense and, arguably, better than ever.
Right from the off, MacNeil was in charge, hurling himself into the front rows before opener Misery had even kicked in. If there was any lingering doubts, the Canadian dispelled them instantly. New song Everybody Loves You (When You’re Dead) followed, it’s furious punk rock n’roll seeing Steph Carter channelling James Williamson as he cranked out a nasty Stooges-style groove.
A good half of the set was drawn from their new, self-titled album but each song was greeted like an old friend, with the crowd bellowing along to bangers like Outsider Art and Depravers.
Playing the crowd like the old pro he is, he introduced Like June by shouting “Do you hate the cops as much as I fucking do?” It obviously hit a chord, as the roar of approval drowned out the song’s chugging intro.
He made a big point of saying how much he loved being in Scotland more than once, with a funny story of necking a full bottle of Buckfast before his first appearance on the Tuts stage. “Brewed by monks, drank by punks” he joked. Not that he needed to, but by this point he had the sold-out crowd eating out of his paws.
Death Voices was slow and ominous to start, before kicking into a furious punk rattle with guitarist Lags Barnard hoisting his mike stand over the heads of the crowd for an acapella gang vocal breakdown.
As great as all the new material was, it was on some of Frank’s old material that Wade MacNeil really shone. In The Belly Of A Shark was incredible, fast, furious and brutal, with Carter’s distinctive vocal being replaced with a demonic bark that added new layers of intensity to an already full-on track.
They ended with the mighty Orchestra Of Wolves, with MacNeil crowd surfing on his back as he spat out the lyrics before turning the mike over to the crowd for one last chorus.
Gallows have not only survived the loss of their frontman, they’re also in the form of their lives.
All words by Jules Boyle. More writing by Jules can be found here.