MÃ¶ngÃ¶l HÃ¶rde is a side project….or is it a super group? I’m unsure. Either way, it’s a hardcore punk outfit made up of members of other bands, both current and defunct. They’re mates and I get the impression they’re having a laugh whilst writing, recording and performing together. The band is fronted by punk/folk singer-songwriter Frank Turner. He’s joined by Ben Dawson, of Million Dead fame, on drums and, from Frank’s live backing band The Sleeping Souls, Matt Nasir on guitar. It’s not exactly a serious project, lyrics on their debut self-titled album are shouty, sweary and sometimes silly. It’s pretty much the antithesis of Frank Turner’s solo output: huge drums, heavy riffs and bizarre lyrics delivered at breakneck speed.
I would say that most of the crowd in the Library at The Institute were there as fans of Frank Turner, looking forward to seeing him perform in a smaller venue than they’re accustomed to. In case you didn’t know he was part of the Olympic opening ceremony in 2012 and in July he is sharing the Sonisphere line up with the likes of Slayer, Metallica and Deftones. But he’s taken time out of his busy touring and festival schedule to do this 10 date tour with Ben Dawson’s other band Palehorse and Oxygen Thief.
MÃ¶ngÃ¶l HÃ¶rde play all of their songs (they don’t have many!) in a short and frantic set. Frank Turner screams and leaps around the stage and genuinely seems to be enjoying a welcome break from the acoustic guitar playing and sing along anthem performances he’s taken all over the world with The Sleeping Souls. This is the music of his youth, clear influences from Minor Threat, Iron Maiden and Frank’s beloved NYHC. The crowd love it! Moshing, circle pits and crowd surfing: this is a proper gig! Some of the kids know all the words and Frank joins them in the crowd and they’ll do anything to get close to the sweat soaked frontman as he’s guided back to the safety of the stage by the security.
The band rattle through the set but add in a few cover songs to eek out as much of their stage time as possible, including Refuse/Resist by Sepultura and Epic by Faith No More, paying homage to the 90s and older members of the crowd clearly enjoy the trip down memory lane. MÃ¶ngÃ¶l HÃ¶rde’s songs are rather formulaic but they’re talented and energetic performers and it’s fun to watch. Frank has gone back to his roots and maybe some of his critics may have to eat their words for a while.
Mongol Horde is out now on Xtra Mile and you can catch them live at Reading and Leeds Festival in August.
Review – Eleanor Lawton
Photos – Andy Watson