If you're a die-hard follower of singer-songwriter Frank Turner, then the name 'Mongol Horde' will sound familiar. They're his new hardcore band, and their recent self-titled debut showed them to be fierce, raw and, most importantly, incredibly fun despite Turner's much more soothing main musical projects. The question was, did this excitement translate live?
Kicking off the entertainment came first supporting act Oxygen Thief with their Biffy Clyro vibe to them; chugging guitars blended organically into warm, fuzzy melodies. They're lively, catchy and worth checking out. Palehorse were next and with two bassists and two exceptional death metal vocalists (no guitarists, though), they couldn't not make a racket, especially with the bass being constantly pressed against the amps, creating gloriously deafening feedback.
There was the worry that Mongol Horde wouldn't match this but they had no such issues, caring more about the punch than the loud opening with 'Winky Face: The Mark Of A Moron', which did a good job of scaring off the people who were there just to see Turner being a blistering sub-minute thrasher. The songs from their new self-titled record were absolute bombs live, with the stabby riffs whipping the crowd into a frenzy as Turner was either seen sinking into said lively crowd or carelessly jumping around the stage. The straight up aggressive tracks like 'Make Way' caused ferocious slam dancing, while the more groove injected tracks like 'Weighed and Found Wanting' got people skanking. Even 'Staff To Refund Counter', the record's most uncharacteristically morbid song, makes more sense live as Turner explained it to be a reaction to Jessie J's 'Price Tag' before people went mental over the chomping guitar.
Mongol Horde's album only lasted about 35 minutes, so they filled up their set with some pretty excellent covers including a fun as hell rendition of Rage Against The Machine's 'Bulls On Parade', an unexpected version of Faith No More's 'Epic' and a brutal run of Sepultura's 'Refuse/Resist'. 'Stillborn Unicorn' was the highlight, which ended with Frank practically riding the audience. The security were VERY strict on crowd surfing/stage diving that night, but they were powerless against devoted Mongol Horde fans yanking Turner into the middle of the crowd. They ended on 'Hey Judas' which saw Frank throw himself and one of the Palehorse vocalists into the crowd, while screaming about The Beatles going to the future and stealing songs from him. Brilliantly absurd.
With the Mongol Horde record, Turner proved that he can still go heavy and, with their live shows, it's clear he's still got the antics too. Hopefully, this won't be the typical side-project story, and that there'll be an album and a tour as this band deserves some longevity.