Mordred @ Islington O2 Adademy 2, London
25th August 2014
Review by Elixa Rose
Photos by Inty Malcolm
This UK tour sees the reformation of Mordred who disbanded shortly after the release of their 1994 Album The Next Room. The reunion, has been just as organic as their style, which came about in 2013 when Guitarist, Danny White, on returning to San Francisco, got in touch with the guys from Mordred and asked if they wanted to jam. They did and naturally it worked. Photos of this were posted on social media, which attracted interest, largely from the UK. It was clear that Mordred still had a strong fan base who wanted to see their comeback. In October 2013 this tour was announced, and the crowd funding campaign begun.
Inside the O2, Islington, it is apparent that Mordred have been missed. Looking around the crowd I notice the age and distinct lack of hair, and suspect it may have been a while between metal gigs for many, but the reunion of Mordred is the exception, even if it is a school night. I see Mordred’s frontman, Scott Holderby, slip through the crowd and he complaints one fan, who I suspect was barely born when Mordred last played in the UK, on his Mordred embellished jacket.
In support are British heavy metal band, Kaine. Sadly, Furyon were out due to a broken vocal chords. Kaine were the perfect way to warm up the crowd ahead of Mordred’s return. They are a tight outfit, almost too tight with bass player Dan Miler and guitarist Anthony Murch are so in sync for the first three tunes, you’d be forgiven for thinking their bopping about and playing is choreographed.
Given time to warm up, and with a switch between lead singers Rage Sadler and Dan Mailer for Solidarity the band loosened up, as did the crowd.
Despite some clunky transitions between songs, Kaine are quality musicians there was awesome instrumental particularly from Anthony Much and a solid finish with Quality of Madness.
A short wait later, Mordred emerge although appear somewhat nervous. James Sanguinity’s strap slips and there is some tuning and sound issues. Then enters Holderby and declares this to be the best reunion EVER, and is glad to be back in his second home London.
The crowd is more than ready to welcome Mordred back. As they launch into tunes, you would not think it has been twenty odd years since they last played. Scott launches himself around the stage which is most definitely too small for him. When he’s not bouncing, he’s up on an amp, and an ill placed light seems to skim his head for most of the performance.
“Most of us were there when shit went down…remember when people were there to catch you” . This is true, Mordred were after all formed in the same era of metal as Metallica, Slayer, Megadeath and more but without the same notoriety. Probably because their fusion of metal, funk, soul and hip hop was well before it’s time, but no doubt they paved the way for cross genre bands such as the Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine that reached commercial success in the late 90s and beyond.
One fan, decides that he’s not quite ready to let those times go, and launches himself off the stage. Of course he surfs his way into the arms of security. Minutes later he reappears, this time beer in hand.
By the third track, the excitement has not faded and they are just getting warmed up. Scotts is very personable with the crowd “Makes me feel like I’m 20 again. Wait I am 20 again. You are all 20 again”. It is apparent that this tour is been a success in the eyes of the band and patient fans alike. If you’ve ever fantasied about what getting the band back together should look like – this is it, and surely they’ve questioned why they didn’t do this sooner.
They seamlessly transitions into Fragrance of Vagrants, a funky track that Mordred never got to play live in the UK previously. The band effortlessly waves itself though the set, switching up vocals between Holderby and DJ Pause. The only issue appears to be a lack of bifocal lenses to read the set list and sound level adjustments, both are quickly sorted out.
There is a distinctively unmetal element to this show. The Holderby grin, which he acknowledges, but says he can’t help it because he’s “having the best fucking time” and the band even stops play to take some selfies with the crowd. That’s metal right?
Mordred finish with two tracks from Fool’s Game , Sever and Splice and In this Life. I see Sanguinetti catching his breath, but the band’s energy is as solid as ever. By this stage the moshing is reaching it’s peak, and Holderby asks to gentlemen to be aware of the ladies in the front. I look over and see said lady quite happily knocking and bopping about. The most excitable lad of the bunch wearing a t-shirt from Kelly Clarkson’s Hazel Eyes Tour of the US in 2003. I really hope this is ironic, or perhaps Mordred’s fan base is even wider than any of us ever thought. Justified I’d say.
State of Mind
Spectacle of Fear
Fragrance of Vagrants
Esse Quam Videri
Johnny the Fox Meets Jimmy the Weed
Every Day’s a Holiday
Sever and Splice
In This Life