Well, well, well, this one was absolutely fascinating.
Let me set the scene. We walk through the middle entrance at the back of the room, after a quick trip to the bar, looking across the room you could see people from probably 16 years old all the way to 60. The youth raging to see a band with punchy messages about our society’s problems, mixed in with the punk veterans who were looking forward to seeing that even some new artists aren’t afraid to make a racket to really hammer home a point. The slanted floor towards the stage was caked in booze and general dirt, giving the feeling of an indoor festival.
You could smell a light air of sweat and quite a strong one of cigarette smoke, This is was all quite funny considering we were at the Eventim Apollo, a venue that a week earlier hosted a Balkans Music Festival that featured an act called the no smoking orchestra. We made our way forward securing a good position to fully experience the entertainment of Jason Williamson’s expressions and mannerisms. Andrew Fearn, the producer of the duo, wanders onto the stage to tamper with a few dials and buttons and wanders off; the anticipation amplifies.
Then it begins. They start with “When You Come Up To Me” setting the tone of a night that puts you face to face with our society’s hardships. They then come in with their distorted baseline and classic Williamson rambling rant in the form of “McFlurry”, this tune alludes to how Boris Johnson couldn’t care less about the people taking public transport with the lyric: “Shut down the underground, so it’s back to orgies on the buses.” Fearn even had a t-shirt that read: Fuck Boris. They wanted you to know that they weren’t happy with our new PM. They covered a huge mass of their work, so you got to hear every variation of thumpy distorted bass and short electronic loop under the sun. For me “Policy Cream” and “Discourse” were stand out tunes of the night but it was “TCR” that really got the crowd amped and the mega energy continued for the duration of the night.
I have to say that this gig was easily one of the most exhilarating and exhausting gigs I have been to, however Sleaford Mods definitely aren't for everyone. Their tunes aren’t pretty by any means but that’s because its not for the music toffs. They keep it simple and gritty to create an atmosphere to go along with their lyrics. They are here for their message to be heard. Williamson was enthralling as expected and it was funny to watch Fearn bobbing around while swigging from his lager. The set went on for an hour and half and I would say it was to a little too long due to the intensity and rough nature of their music, the night really left a mark on me, but to be honest that was probably the idea.
Words: James Watson
Image: Katie McLellan-Salisbury @katiemclellansalisbury