Sleaford Mods at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall

After a couple of years of listening to and trying to figure out Sleaford Mods and where they stand in today’s music scene and its decline in originality, it can be said with great certainty that Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn are delivering ideas that are bold, new and often feared.

As we watched the interesting choice of supporting band, Grey Hairs, an ostentatiously angry performance in which the seemingly passionate lyrics were drowned out by the rest of the band, it was difficult to keep your eyes on the stage due to a lurking Andrew in the stands.

With the main event imminent, we grabbed a couple of pints, headed to our seats for a brief sit down before the Mods’ driving beat commenced at precisely 9:30. The pair warmed up the crowd with two new songs followed by the newly released ‘Stick in a Five and Go’, emitting a new energy amongst the hall as people began to feel comfortable enough to attempt to sing along. Despite the awkward dynamics of assigned seating and empty seats in the higher tear, once the gig progressed, designated areas were left and empty spots were found nearer the stage, though staying clear of the rigidly instructed security. As for the Royal Concert Hall itself, it is a neat paradox that a musical outfit whose equipment consists of a microphone, laptop and a bottle of lager, can own a stage large enough for a philharmonic orchestra and a Christmas pantomime.

Throughout the hour, Jason demonstrated his signature comedic, flamboyant dance moves juxtaposed with his passionate convulsive motions. Meanwhile, virtuoso Andrew fed off the crowd’s reaction to his tracks, resembling an adolescent at-his-first-disco vibe. In terms of performance, the pair are undisputedly an act to be seen live, as their guttural snarls and raspberries blown into the microphone unfortunately don’t make the cut on their records.

‘Dregs’ and ‘Joke Shop’ expressed the two’s recent experimentation with fluctuating tempos and a more melodic vocal. Though the harmoniousness of the bridge in Joke Shop demonstrates a step towards the genre of Pop, arguably their closest attempt at this particular genre is ‘Moptop’ due to it being instrumentally steady and repetitive, as well as its obvious pre-chorus and chorus. As assumed, the two were an explosive machine of working class rage, particularly in ‘Jolly Fucker’, and shown in the sophisticated and righteously harsh views on popular figures, such as in their new song ‘Flipside’ in the phrase “Graham Coxon is just a left wing Boris Johnson”. As the encore commenced without the expected interlude, Jason ferociously attacked ‘Fizzy’, followed by ‘Jobseeker’ and ‘Tied up in Nottz’, expressing virtuosity and flair as the crowd let loose and roared along to the lyrics. Unfortunately those situated in the front of the hall remained seated the entire evening, creating a slight awkwardness, and resulting in Andrew apologising for the choice of arena.

By and large, Sleaford Mod’s barbarous, unhampered with lyrics and thudding music prove they are undoubtedly worthy of being Iggy Pop’s favourite band. Here I leave you with a closing statement said by Andrew to yours truly, “Stay alive and eventually something will happen”.

In review photo 1- Sadie Agg, In review photo 2- Unknown Photographer, Featured image- Olivier Donnet

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