This is clearly a night that has been highlighted in diaries for many this year. This isn’t just because cupid is coming to town. Mongrel are at Plug tonight, one of the first chances to see this new concoction of genres which includes a welcome return for ex-Monkey Andy Nicholson.
Sampletastic and not quite as interesting as their name suggests, Playground Mafia kick the night off in turbulent style without much of a crowd but they manage to ignore this and fly through a gruelling set of big, dirty noises .
They’re followed Mongrel member, MPOH. The crowd grows with her confidence through the set as she shakes along with her Gok Wan lookalike stage mate, DJ Beware. She’s fierce, has a great voice and mixes the set with recognisable tunes such as Salt n Pepa’s ‘Push It’. MPOH returns to Sheffield in March and I for one will be returning.
A sense of awe consumes the Plug as the ‘coalition of the willing’ super group Mongrel take to the stage, albeit late and without guitarist Drew McConnell, delayed because of objects on the train track delivering him to the north.
When he does show up Mongrel suddenly kick into life. It’s like one big party, one very organised party where everyone waits their turn to play the finest game. It’s politically minded with references to 9/11 in highlight ‘the Menace’ which floats brilliantly between indie pop and hip hop.
The Reverend is as entertaining as ever, doing his best impression of a gorilla doing his best impression of Flat Eric. The loved up Valentines (aged from about seven to seventy) are clearly in wonder of this band and when Low Key adds his Impromptu Alphabet session everything stops and mouths are open for a completely different reason.
They’re a refreshing band with a raw passion for what is going on around them and with no other agenda; they’re doing it for the right reason.
‘In the future, all music will sound like this so get used to it.’ Maybe isn’t McClure’s most profound statement all night but it is a statement of intent, probably indicating that he isn’t done with his music just yet.