Converse Get Dirty @ The 100 Club, Friday, April 19

Derek Bremner/NME
Photo: Derek Bremner/NME
Almost two years after their frontman Frank Carter announced he was leaving to form stadium-rock chasers Pure Love, Watford punks Gallows are now an entirely Carter-free zone. Just a few weeks ago, Frank’s younger brother Steph announced he was abandoning ship too, making tonight’s gig the band’s UK debut as a four-piece.

Choosing to draft in no replacement, the loss of a guitarist undoubtedly makes Gallows sound a little weedier, but there’s certainly no drop-off in intensity from the remaining four. They deliver an hour-long set at the same furious pace they always have, turning the room into a sea of total and utter chaos. The band kick off with ‘Victim Culture’, the opening track from their self-titled third album, then nail every subsequent track with singer Wade MacNeil in full-on pitbull mode. Old favourites like ‘In The Belly Of A Shark’ and ‘Misery’ are hammered home, and newer cuts ‘Cross Of Lorraine’ and ‘Outsider Art’ have turned into live stormers that are greeted with the same fervour as established bangers ‘Abandon Ship’ and ‘Leeches’. They also tip their caps to the venue’s heritage with a spirited cover of Sham 69’s punk classic ‘Borstal Breakout’, before ending with a thundering ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’ and an all-out stage invasion.

The departure of a second Carter might truly signal the end of Gallows Mk 1, but there’s clearly no need for any soul-searching or change of direction. More shows like this and they’ll be just fine.

Tom Goodwyn

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