So I got a couple other nights to still blog about in London but I am skipping right to the end, which was my last night there because it was an epic night full of win.
Did you know Frank Turner had a new side project called Möngöl Hörde? Neither did I some 20 hours ago. Then like seven hours later I was at their debut show at The Wheelbarrow. But before I get too far ahead of myself I have to talk about the opening artist, Oxygen Thief.
So when Oxygen Thief started I thought he was going to be just a rehash of Frank's solo sound as he was British and played acoustic with a punk feel, but quickly he made me realize he had his own thing going. I have never heard so much aggression and heavyness coming from someone playing acoustically. And he was tearing it up on the guitar, playing it like it was lead guitar for some post-hardcore punk band. He had fucking breakdowns going on and just was playing with so much ferocity and emotion I couldn't help but get sucked in and be in awe of his music. He has got such a unique sound, he is solo and playing on an acoustic guitar but it is in no way folk music. It is acoustic hardcore something I wouldn't think would be possible but Oxygen Thief not only pulls it off but completely dominates while playing his heart out. Also he did one badass and super fun cover of M.I.A.'s Paper Planes that the crowd got involved in singing along enthusiastically.
Then came the reason this little Pub in England was at capacity or even over because there was no room in the place it seemed. I had some lofty expectations after checking out a couple of Möngöl Hörde's songs they had released on youtube and being blown away by the couple tracks they had put up. This wasn't just Frank going back and doing Million Dead again which is a band I never really got that into. To be fair I only heard of them after the fact because I fell so in love with Frank Turner's music I needed to find and consume everything he had created, but after giving his hardcore punk band roots a listen through I never went back to it. Möngöl Hörde is its own unique powerful beast that is more metal and noise rock than just hardcore.
And Möngöl Hörde and the crowd absolutely fucking nailed it! For being their first ever show you could never tell, as they played flawlessly and tight throughout the whole set. And the craziest part was how relentless every song seemed, just full out aggression that wouldn't let up song after song. I guess their were a couple slow or quiet parts but that was only to show a little contrast and make songs more interesting. But then the aggression would fly back out harder and faster it seemed. And frank could scream for ages it seemed and never lost his power and even had a few different levels to it which helped make the songs more dynamic. Oh and did I mention this was a three-piece band consisting of drums, guitar and vocals only that was making this flawless cacophonous rocking music.
What really completed the night in it's legendary status was the crowd. Frank Turner and old Million Dead faithful made their way last minute hyped and ready to bring it up a notch. And from the get go the notch was brought higher then I knew it could go. Plus while it was extremely crowded super hot and sweaty the mosh pit always stayed friendly. This was a mass of people all there to let go of their inhibitions and give their bodies and souls to rocking out and not about committing violence on others. Not that I didn't take shots from elbows and fists to both the body and head but that is the cost of doing business in the thick of the pit. (That also included a whack to the head from Ben Dawson's drumstick when I go knocked and fell on stage at his feet just missing taking out part of his drum set thankfully) The amount of energy and love and the complete lack of separation between band and crowd made this a special night, one I won't ever forget and will quickly come up when talking about best show ever attended.
And then it was over, it felt like forever and I was ready to keel over and die but apparently it had been less than an hour as it was just before 11 and they went on a little after 10. But just because the music was done didn't mean the night was done. After cooling down for like 20 minutes outside I grabbed an ice cold pint of cider with ice which hit the spot and made some new friends with fellow shell shocked attendees of this once in a lifetime opportunity. Just got to thank Frank again instead of letting me leave when I used the last of the pounds I had on me he bought me a pint and a shot and the night continued. I also guess I need to go buy my ticket to his show at the HoB Anaheim because I told him I would see him there. As well Ben couldn't have been nicer and didn't need to keep apologizing for whacking me on the head with his drum stick when I fell on stage.
You should also go check out the blog post by the lovely Alice I met that night at her blog Town Called Alice. There is also a great slideshow that Dan Griffiths put together that capture the night. I also took a crappy video with my iPhone that I uploaded to YouTube that what it lacks in sound quality, it makes up for capturing the atmosphere and insanity of the room. I would love to see more pics or videos if you were at the show post them in the comments...