Gig review: Sleaford Mods at Leeds Beckett University

Sleaford Mods. Picture: Roger Sargent
Sleaford Mods. Picture: Roger Sargent
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Sleaford Mods have become known as the sound of Austerity Britain. Angry, provocative and bleakly humorous the Nottingham duo give voice to a working class life of dole queues and unmitigated capitalism.

Conversational in tone, frontman Jason Williamson is the self-confessed ‘Baldrick’s son’ with a cunning plan to politicise the everyday with embittered, expletive laden tirades that furiously compare the collapse of BHS to the decline of the entire post-Brexit country.

Delivered in a barked style that’s pitched between John Lydon and John Cooper Clarke, he makes The Streets sound over produced with no-frills electro-punk that draws a line between the Sex Pistols, the illegal rave scene and grime.

Played on a battered laptop by Andrew Fearn, whose sole role outside of the studio appears to be drinking lager and nodding his head, the music is urgent in its blend of simple beats, cheap keyboards and post-punk bass.

It’s a minimalist sound that they’ve peddled with only slight tonal variation since 2007 and yet with this year’s English Tapas they’ve become more vital than ever. The despair in Williamson’s voice is evident as he acerbically splutters, “The future is a flag p***ed on and a king-sized packet of Quavers” (‘Carlton Touts’).

It’s this authenticity that’s seen them connect with the old punks in the audience; their one concession to showbiz tropes being a three-song encore. It also somewhat ironically means that the Government policies they so despise have given them the perfect market conditions under which to grow their audience.