BREVIEW: Sleaford Mods @ Institute 29.09.15

Sleaford Mods / By Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review

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Words by Olly MacNamee / Pics by Paul Reynolds

By the onset of the 1980’s the agitated anarchy of Punk had all but been silenced, as weSleaford Mods / By Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Review were fed a diet of excess, greed and decadence reflected in the Pop pompous music acts of the time.

Fast forward several decades and we as a society are a bit wiser, a bit more jaded; we are more aware, second time round, of the sh*t a Conservative government are trying to shovel down our throats. The recent success of Jeremy Corbyn, and a politics once deemed dead and buried by the oligarchs of this world, reflect this. And bands like Sleaford Mods reflect this too.

They may not want to be pigeon holed as ‘political’, but they are, undoubtedly; a voice that does reflect modern Britain and its unlaundered masses with their take on today’s bleak, blurred horizon. While the Pet Shop Boys reflected the zeitgeist of the 80’s, Sleaford Mods are our here and now – the band Shane Meadows would manage in another life.

Sleaford Mods / By Paul Reynolds - Birmingham ReviewWith a half empty Institute crowd – something lyricist, Jason Williamson himself acknowledges, “we’ve got a ‘alf-full house,” – and a stripped back Spartan stage, Birmingham welcomes these Dickensian dodgers of a modern age into their arms for the second time in 2015.

Opening up with ‘Key Markets’, Williamson, ever frantic, ever fidgety, is a fizzing presence on stage and throughout the hour long set. He more than makes up for Andrew Fearn’s too laid back, Sleaford Mods / By Paul Reynolds - Birmingham Reviewnon-presence. Y’know, just like The Pet Shop Boys. But I suppose that’s the point; Fearn doesn’t have to do much, he’s done the donkeywork back home on his kitchen table.

All eyes are on Williamson as he belts out stream-of-consciousness monologues and diatribes railing, raging against the machine: ‘Live Tonight’, ‘Jolly Fucker’ and their anthemic track, ‘Tiswas’, in-between some banter with the crowd. But, the Institute can be a big stage to fill, especially for two.

With all Williamson’s exuberance, Fearn’s gentle gyrations back and forth, and the proclamation that “this is our first ‘posh’ tour”, where was the added oomph? I’m not talking fireworks here, but even the inclusion of a Val Doonican rocking chair would be a knowing nod in the right direction. God knows Fearn looks as if he would like one.

Sleaford Mods / By Paul Reynolds - Birmingham ReviewBut, these are but quibbles. He did have a new microphone, called Greg, and after all for most of the fans here tonight – of all different ages – the lyrics and the rawness of Sleaford Mods live and in the flesh is what it was all about.

All art forms reflect the times they are conceived and created in; Sleaford Mods are no exception and the stand out from the crowd because of the noise they make.

For more on Sleaford Mods, visit

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