Mongol Horde/Good Tiger/Rival Bones – Manchester, Academy 2 – 26 January 2018 Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep and Sabrina Ramdoyal   
Saturday, 03 February 2018 05:00

A second hardcore gig in two days is beckoning me back over to Manchester tonight, this time with the Frank Turner-led Mongol Horde taking the headline spot. Happily enough, no rain for once, but a bit on the chilly side, as I head over for my latest adventure.


Rival Bones are first on this evening, a band I had seen support someone else last year, though it escapes me who. Fellow Liverpudlians though, so another reason to pay attention. They actually do quite well. Despite the room being quite empty at the start, it builds up, slowly at first, and there is a decent appreciation for their efforts. They come across like an early Black Keys/Royal Blood type band, guitar/vocals and drums, which does work in this environment. There is little time between songs, as they try to cram as many songs in as possible, making full use of the small slot they get to impress. The growing audience takes well to the band and shows their appreciation at the end of a quite well-delivered set.


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Main support tonight comes in the form of Good Tiger, whose sound comes from ex-Tesseract, The Faceless and Safety Fire members, for what is a pretty intriguing feel. There is a hint of a few different leanings, a hint towards prog, towards emo, towards post-hardcore and more, which seems to go down well with the half-capacity room at the start of their set. The vocals stay towards the clean end of the spectrum, though often being higher pitched than the other bands on the show tonight. The rhythm guitar seems to spend half of the set fine-tuning his guitar, as he strums so hard across it at times that he may as well be ripping the strings straight out of the instrument. There are hints of Mars Volta and At The Drive-In at times, which seems to also work well for them, so by the end of their set, the now very busy crowd reaction very well, showing their appreciation of Good Tiger quite loudly.


This now brings us to our headliners. Ben and Matt, our drummer and guitar/backing vocalist for this set take to the stage during a short intro, with no sign of Frank Turner. From the corner of my eye, I see someone in the crowd getting up to crowd surf. I glance over as they start to try standing up and notice a microphone in their hand - it seems that Mr Turner is doing things a slightly different way tonight. He crowd surfs over towards the barrier, already screaming down the microphone as the drums kick in and clambers over the barrier and up on to the stage as a mosh out opens up right behind him, almost engulfing him before he gets over. This carries on being a feature of the crowd right through the set as the atmosphere is both intense yet positive right the way through.


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Frank's vocals alter between spoken, rap like lyrics and the screaming you would associate with a hardcore punk band, while he is ably backed up by guitarist Matt providing clean harmonies at times. After a couple of songs, Frank terms the band as a tribute to Take That, naming Matt as Jason, Ben as Howard and himself as Mark Owen, which becomes a running joke through the rest of the gig. There are a couple of Million Dead covers placed near the start and end of the set, being a former band for a couple of the band members, as well as hardcore covers of Thin Lizzy's Jailbreak and Madonna's Like A Prayer. Halfway through, the band introduce their first new song of the night, before smashing straight into Staff To Refund Counter, which seems to feature the crowd on vocals, as they drown out the rough vocals Frank is providing with an overwhelming loudness that seems to feed the band back into a second wind.


Frank seems to spend half the gig either on the barriers, screaming directly into the crowd, or crowd surfing. When he is actually up on stage, he still can't keep still even then, constantly bouncing around like a ping-pong ball between world champions all over the stage. At one point, when climbing back on stage after another crowd surfing episode, he trips over a security guard and quickly turns to sheepishly apologise, though it was taken in good humour and as the complete accident that it was. This level of relaxation in the staff all night only adds to the vibrant and friendly atmosphere, as it just seeps into anyone and everyone. Frank speaks out, saying they have one more new song then it's just Take That's greatest hits, which draws a chuckle from the crowd, then launching into their last four songs of the night, before the roof comes down, luckily, not literally, at the end of the set. The band say their thank yous, leave the stage for Take That's ‘Never Forget’ to come out over the tannoy system, leaving the crowd singing and dancing along on their way out.


Simply spellbinding.


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Sabrina Ramdoyal/ Über Rock. You can see our full gallery of photographs HERE.


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