Sleaford Mods, O2 Academy Liverpool, 03/03/2019

Sleaford Mods are back in town and whilst it feels like there should be a pre-gig tension in the air, inlight of

Jason Williamson’s penchant for angry wailing polemics, there is a much more prevalent feeling of love in the air. No amount of city re-generation can hide the fact that Liverpool is still feeling the strains of austerity and the daily snapshots of doorway dwellers
are a blueprint of the damaged society that is the major structure of the band’s work.

No amount of city re-generation can hide the fact that Liverpool is still feeling the strains of austerity and the daily snapshots of doorway dwellers
are a blueprint of the damaged society that is the major structure of the band’s work.

One lonely voice chants out
“You Scruffy Bastard” as Andrew Fearn takes the stage to soundcheck his laptop and unsurprisingly no-one joins in.
Sleaford Mods included our City in their brilliant Invisible
Britain documentary in 2015 and clearly feel a respectful connection, so why should we greet them with such un-original and unfounded insults, beside the fact that they are not exactly scruffy anyway.

Their new album, Eton Alive, pre-empts what was always going to be an interesting night with its soft focus cover, so different to their usual sleeves depicting the pair hanging around outside various shuttered buildings and graffitied urban drudge. The hard-nosed street
image appears to have gone soft amid criticism’s that Williamson has finally started to sing the odd track rather than bleat. All fears are allayed within the first three songs, all from the new album and delivered with even more venom than ever before.

The hard-nosed street
image appears to have gone soft amid criticism’s that Williamson has finally started to sing the odd track rather than bleat. All fears are allayed within the first three songs, all from the new album and delivered with even more venom than ever before.

Into The Payzone opens both the album, the set and the agenda of the night, a series of blunt snapshots of a country in decay. It’s never a concern with Sleaford Mods when they open their set with three new songs as they don’t lack familiarity even after just one listen. They are battered into our minds with such metronomic

They are battered into our minds with such metronomic vigour that
we feel like they have been there forever.
When Stick in a Five and Go from last year’s eponymous E.P kicks in, it’s like an old mate knocking round.

The USP of Sleaford Mods is undoubtedly the juxtaposition of barbed screaming lyrics and the camp physicality of Jason Williamson, shifting from the stance of a ballet dancer to a knuckle dragging gorilla in the blink of an eye.
His pursed lips and range of oohs and Aahs are worthy of Kenneth Williams and

His pursed lips and range of oohs and Aahs are worthy of Kenneth Williams and and for such an apparent boy’s club following of “actual” mods, his stereotypical feminine posturing is nothing short of refreshing.

They are unashamedly funny, a factor which non-followers may miss, raspberry-blowing and stagey asides punctuate otherwise heavy lyrical
content and add much needed relief throughout this varied set.

Whilst Eton Alive dominates
tonight, welcome visits of
TCR”,
BHS
and Just Like We Do now
hold the stature of Greatest Hits when they suddenly emerge. Deeper digs into the back catalogue like
Jolly
Fucker
bring new levels of chaos to the moshpit, but there is never a sense of threat. “Are we Unified Liverpool?” Shouts Williamson. Yes we are. Other highlights include “

Other highlights include “Bang
Someone Out
and new songs, “Subtraction”, the hypnotic “Big
Burt
and equally juddering “Flipside.

The singer has been working on a more traditional vocal approach and “O.B.C.T” exhibits this with its almost Joy Division drone and Williamson literally crooning over it. To create a balance most

To create a balance most songs seem
to end with a clarion call of “Fuck
Offff!!” or even “Smash the Fucking Window” delivered like a full set through the shattering window of John Lewis.

A heartfelt thank you is followed with a perfect encore opener of “Jobseeker, which is arguably their signature tune, this time introed with Bad Manners’ “Lip Up Fatty
a before Williamson’s trademark flappy hand around the ear kicks in and the entire room erupts.Had

Had Sleaford Mods been around in the late 70s / early 80s, they would have been hailed with the same regard as The Jam or The Clash and songs like “Jobseeker” would have shared NME annual polls with “Town
Called Malice
” or “White Riot”.
Modern consumerism means that
Sleaford Mods remain niche in comparison.

Tarantula Deadly Cargo” follows with an almost Rolling Stones bluesy-ness as Williamson prowls the stage before the confident move of finishing with a new album track, “Discourse, a bleep driven slice of death disco that owes more than a passing nod to P.I.L. “Thank You Liverpool for spending your money on this pair of cunts”, shouts WIlliamson and
Andrew Fearn laughs and leaves the laptop to film the crowd. This pair have had the time of their lives tonight in front of a crowd who truly appreciate the effort. About as perfect as a gig can be.

Words by Del Pike.

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