Hunter S Thompson was described as making himself ugly to expose the ugliness he saw around him. Sleaford Mods are without a doubt carrying the same torch and shining a light on the ugly realities of British society today.
It’s the 22nd of September at Brixton academy and there isn’t a whiff of bullshit in the air. Sleaford Mods are about to step on stage to their biggest London crowd yet.
Now for those of you unaware of this duo. Sleaford mods are not your typical act. Dubbed as the greatest rock n roll band on the planet by Steve Albini and in Iggy Pops words: “The most credible new group going that don’t rely on the old conventions to make the music feel good.”
These two middle aged men from Nottingham that have spent their entire lives working terrible jobs for the council and in chicken factories are brewing with anger towards the way Britain is structured. So much passion and truth is spilling out of this band. They are without a doubt the most brutally honest act in the UK today.
Mixed feelings float around the crowd after having to sit through two very comical support acts clearly chosen by the band. Some members of the audience were not so charmed and heckled both. To be honest, i don’t blame them.
All eyes in Brixton Academy are fixated on Andrew Fearns Laptop sat on top of a crate of beer on the left of the stage, eagerly waiting for him to come and press play. They walk on in typical grateful fashion looking very happy to be there. Andy dressed in his trademark Chief Wigum T-shirt and snapback hat. Jason also dressed in his usual cropped trousers and black T-shirt.
They may look extremely casual and relaxed but don’t let the clothes deceive you, they mean business. Which can be heard straight away as they blare into ‘i feel so wrong’. A relatively calm start compared to what is to come as the night progresses and the energy flows.
The set doesn’t wait about to build up momentum. Third track ‘i can tell’ has the whole of the audience bouncing and shouting back the lyrics with as much anger and intent as frontman Jason Williamson. The man with 5000 people in the palm of his hands.
The crowd really is a sight to behold. Men that are 50 years old, strong and bald, are throwing each other about in the front row. I got in amongst the action for as long as i could bare. I retired slightly back after being thumped numerous times against those ridiculous bars that brixton has throughout the venue. I didn’t see one person manage more than three songs in that front row.
The audience is of mixed age. Which really reflects the political awareness in this country at the moment. To see so many young people at a gig of a group that write songs about austerity and the dole is an amazing thing and something us and Sleaford Mods can be very proud of.
A sense of pure anarchy has the audience captivated and in a trance as the repetitive beats of Andrew Fearn thud through the speakers. Williamson creeps up and down the stage. Seething, looking almost possessed as he recalls days spent cooped up in dead end jobs.
The band leave the stage but shortly re-emerge for an encore after screams of SLE-FORD MODS! ring around the venue. The band have saved their best songs for last and come back out to play their most famous song ‘Jobseeker’ that they haven’t even properly released yet. Typical of this band that hands out shits so sparingly. Clearly carless about achieving chart success.
They end the set with song ‘Tweet, Tweet, Tweet’ which includes some almost gothic choir vocals in the background that the crowd are still singing long after the band leave the stage. This adds to the mist of gloom, misery and anger that lays firmly on the shoulders of the crowd as the inspiring duo exit.
As i leave the venue completely in awe of what i have just witnessed. I hear not just one, or even two, but many people all around me say that that was the best show they have ever been to. I completely believed them. 90 minutes of pure truth delving deep into the harsh realities of modern england. This group have been scarred and are by no means scared to detail the grim and dark mundanities of daily life.