Often jumping into the photopit to sing right in the faces of those stand at the front, Cuntrad and Bowes’ also venture into the crowd on occasion, lapping the venue’s perimeter while high-fiving obliging punters. Even Mordred’s Scott Holderby watches on with a beaming grin, moving along in the audience to the music’s beats and grooves, while simultaneously amused by the two singers’ on/off-stage antics. He looks like he’s loving every minute. Commendation from the Mordred frontman? Now that’s really something. And everyone gathered in the Academy 3 tonight looks like they’re having a whole lot of fun, be it with latest single ‘Airstrike’, their deranged take on Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’, or the barrage of between-song banter that incorporates all kinds of bizarre anecdotes, including the story of when they were phonetically mistaken for “Steven and Kieran” when introducing the band. It’s the music that matters, though, and Seething Akira’s performance of such is mightily impressive – energetic, intense, and incredibly fucking enjoyable.
Holderby, standing atop a monitor speaker, let’s out a proud yell of “Mordred”, then the band launch into ‘State of Mind’, following swiftly with ‘Spectacle of Fear’, the opening two tracks from their 1989 debut album, ‘Fool’s Game’. Listening to these songs 26 years on from when they were initially unleashed, it’s testament to both the band’s forward-thinking songwriting and current passion for the live performance that they sound as fresh and invigorating as they do in 2015. In fact, everything they play tonight, be it the three new songs (‘I Am Charlie’, ‘All Eyes on a Prize’ and last year’s ‘The Baroness’ single), or the old material, sounds fresh and relevant. Obviously, there’s a retro twang that’s inherent in Mordred’s songs of yore, but their mixed-genre blend also has an innate timeless quality. Holderby’s lyrically autobiographical ‘West County Hostpital’ proves to be every bit the emotive experience live as it is recorded; ‘The Strain’, which segues with its funked-up outro into ‘Killing Time’ both sound overwhelmingly contemporary, ‘The Vagrant’s laidback, funk-rock vibe will probably never sound dated, and their ever-inventive cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed’ is an almost essential, and welcome, inclusion.
The enthusiasm of those present in the Academy 3 compensates for the quarter-full venue, with sing-alongs, cheers, some pit action, and general camaraderie. And it’s worth noting that this is a more than respectable turnout considering hordes of metal fans would’ve descended upon the grounds of Catton Hall in Derbyshire today for the start of Bloodstock (which Mordred themselves would be performing at on Saturday). People make themselves heard throughout, but notably on Mordred’s perennial party anthem, ‘Every Day’s a Holiday’, and during ‘Falling Away’ when Holderby holds his mic towards the audience for the “Take me away from here” lyric, a large number of the crowd sing the line with considerable avidity. The frontman is discernibly moved by this, telling everyone at the song’s climax they’ve “made an old man happy.”And old or not, his boundless exuberance is undeniable tonight, prowling around the stage with an array of inimitable moves during instrumental passages, as well as generally leaping around the stage, on and off the monitors, and into the photopit to get as close as he can to the fans.
Aaron ‘DJ Pause’ Vaughn adds his unique touch to Mordred’s overall sound – animated for the entire set while scratching on his turntables, he even ventures from behind his decks at one point to take a selfie (alongside Danny White and Holderby) with the audience, before treating everyone to his infectious rap skills for an airing of ‘Close Minded’. Art Liboon’s bass work is simply mindblowing, while guitarists White and Jim Sanguinetti both impress too with flawless performances (aside from a minor glitch from the former for the opening of ‘Falling Away’). And not forgetting the man behind the kit, of course, who delivers a fine drumming performance that does full justice to Hall’s original parts.
Running close to the Academy 3’s 11pm curfew, Holderby announces after ‘Falling Away’ that they’ll avoid the usual pre-encore formalities of walking off/on stage so, instead, plough forth for two final songs – ‘The Baroness’ and ‘In This Life’. It’s a fitting end to an incredible set, where new meets old… and that very contraposition of new and old material makes emphatic, once again, just how well Mordred’s music has dated. Couple that with a band who are evidently as passionate about performing live as they ever were, then it’s a potent combination that’ll hopefully see the band’s reunion go from strength to strength. In short, tonight’s show has been phenomenal and has captured the pure essence of gigdom; one where there’s a constant, sincere and infectious energy flowing between both band and audience. And that reciprocation is consolidated right at the end when Scott leaps over the barrier to mingle within the crowd as mutual gratitude, hugs and handshakes are shared between the vocalist and punters. Mordred’s reunion transcends mere nostalgic trip; rather, just like their music, this is all about the here and now. Let’s hope they’re back for a good few years.
Now this is going to be FUN!!
Newcomers Nine Miles South bring a modernized mix of Country, Classic Rock and Blues to the table with their upcoming EP set to be released on September 7th. Produced by Samuel Burden, the Guildford, UK-based band has a distinct crossover sound that is both unique yet eerily familiar as they take the listener on a nostalgic journey and create an epic feeling of wanting more. Formed by lead vocalist Sebb Mikkelson who was originally from Denmark and moved to the UK, he is joined by Jon Antony on guitar and backing vocals, Andy Sleigh on bass and backing vocals along with David Wilson on drums.
The Reckoning starts of slow and sultry with a big finish. The beginning almost resembles Metallica’s version of Turn The Page with an amalgamation of country and Classic Rock and going into an 80’s metal guitar solo without losing the ultimate feeling of the song. The ending speeds up a bit as if it is the peak ending of a roller coaster ride of rock n’ roll. Track two is called Leave Me Be which brings a softer, acoustic sound with a more soulful melody and a loop of blues and rock. It’s a song that is extremely radio friendly and brings about an intimacy. Track three, Fingernails is like a Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd and 80’s rock cocktail. This song is unpredictable in its predictability which makes it such a great song.
Nine Miles South are taking the UK by storm at their live shows so it is only a matter of time before the US is on the bandwagon. Hopefully, this EP will warrant a full length album in the near future. Meanwhile, this is an album that will be listened to on continual play.
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