Sleaford Mods at District 8, Dublin, 19th September 2015
Noel Gallagher, bullshit bosses, Nick Clegg and erm buzz cuts. It seems nothing is safe from the wrath of Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearne aka Nottingham’s Sleaford Mods. At first listen you could be forgiven for dismissing the duo as brashy. Although, it is important to view them in perspective. In an interview with The Guardian earlier this year, speaking about their live shows, Williamson stated; “it’s about 60% me and 40% performance.” In a sense, their spleen-venting social commentary perfectly encapsulates and embodies the working class disaffection with Cameron’s Britain, its ennui and the trashy pop culture spawned from it. In that same interview, the frontman muses; “I think Sleaford Mods’ music is fresh and contemporary and speaks of the here and now”. Indeed, it is difficult to identify somebody more wittily epochal yet so unequivocally local.
Following a delectable DJ set from Paranoid Visions, Williamson led the pair onstage strutting about with all the charisma you’d expect from somebody who, in the space of less than a year, has gone from benefits officer to cracking the top 10. District 8 was teeming. A melting pot of ageing punks and pubescent and ‘millennial’ hipsters, which is testament to the Mods’ appeal. Launching into Arabia, the twosome rallied the crowd, their blend of stark minimalistic basslines and sweary rants vexing them up more than Alex Ferguson on speed. So much so that some couldn’t contain themselves from joining the band onstage for a wee bop.
But not even this could perturb the frontman’s presence, Williamson vacillating between banter and song seamlessly. New material from ‘Key Markets‘ was received well, perhaps none more so than during No One’s Bothered, which found the audience follow in the procession of the chorus as the men of the hour frolicked and paraded across the stage. See, there’s a fresh originality to the Mods’ visage, a relatability. It’s on earlier cuts, Tied Up In Nottz and Jobseeker however that the tempo really accelerated, the anti-intro at the start of the latter sending the crowd into a ruckus before leading them onto the loudest refrain of the night. Never had giving out about the sorry landscape of employment felt so good. Things were rounded off pertinently as they returned for a double onslaught of the grinding Tarantuala Deadly Cargo and ‘Attack and Divide’ closer, Tweet Tweet Tweet.
It was fitting that on the same night in which a certain other acclaimed spoken word social commentator by the name of Mike Skinner was set to headline The Hangar, Fearne and Williamson looked to stake their claim. As the resurgence of grime looks to be gathering momentum, Sleaford Mods make the perfect accompaniments with their visceral lyricism and dark yet funky sound for the disillusioned and trampled everywhere. Now, “Fuck off! I’m going home!”