hmv.com reviews... Mongol Horde @ Bristol's Fleece
Once a hardcore frontman with Million Dead, then an arena-filling folk troubadour, Frank Turner is now back in the hardcore game with new side-project Mongol Horde. We checked out his band's first full UK tour...
Mongol Horde, the new hardcore outfit from Frank Turner with fellow members Matt Nasir from his Sleeping Souls backing band and Ben Dawson, once a member of Turner's old band Million Dead.
Bristol- The Fleece; a wonderfully intimate and unique venue, currently at the centre of a campaign to keep itself open due to housing plans.
Was it full? And how were the crowd?
The band played to a packed venue who threw themselves into it right from the opening to the closing chords. Even Bristol’s infamous 'Big Jeff' known for his dancing antics was almost lost in the sea of crowd surfers and stage invaders throughout the concert.
So what was the set like? What did they play?
The first time we experienced the thrill of Mongol Horde was at Reading Festival two years ago, taking a punt because of who Turner was and what he'd been in his first band Million Dead. Standing there in the sweltering tent, we were blown away by the intensity the brought to the stage for every single song and that was only their 4th ever show. Now two years later and surprisingly only playing their 8th show the band are even more thrilling than before play with a tightness that most acts don’t have after years of practice!
Primarily playing tracks off of their recent self-titled debut the pit at the front is vigorous with Turner thrusting the mic into the crowd for glorious sing-alongs on 'Staff To The Refund Counter' and 'How The Communists Ruined Christmas'.
It’s a lot different to the arena filled anthems we are now used to hearing from him but the band feel right at home in such an intimate setting. Some perfectly judged covers from the likes of Rage Against The Machine make hearing them live even more exciting than the original bands in the first place.
But it’s towards the end of the set with the first song they released 'Casual Threats From The Weekend Hardmen' that really knocks the audience for six. Circle pits are forming around the multiple pillars inside the venue and Turner himself dives into the sweaty crowd to be carried by excitable fans. If this is only the beginning for a band like Mongol Horde, then there are definitely exciting times to come!
Any good between song banter?
What’s surprising tonight is how funny the between-song chat at the gig actually is tonight. Aside from the ingenious and biting lyrics reminiscent of welsh heroes Future Of The Left, the talk in between songs remains as satirical and wonderfully entertaining. Targets include the state of Jessie J’s hair to a festival-like rumour about the passing of Les Dennis which had everyone on their phones for one moment checking to see if it was true. Only a band like this could dedicate a song about 'Natalie Portman’s Tapeworm' to a nine year old child who bullied them earlier on in the day at the Bristol fountains!
What was the highlight of the set?
Whilst every song played won over the energetic crowd, it was the opening notes to a blistering cover of Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls On Parade” that drove them into a frenzy. With only a guitar, drums and Turner’s epic screams it’s an impressive feat to be able to create such a sound which takes the gig up another notch.
Where can I catch them next?
They are currently finishing a UK tour at the moment which sees them on several more dates including Manchester and London. They also play a high profile slot on the newly named 'The Pit' stage at Reading & Leeds this summer between 22nd-24th August. With such a rare opportunity to see this exciting band it’d be wise not to miss out on it!
Mongol Horde's self-titled debut album is available now in hmv stores.