In Sleaford Mods’ case, their pre-show set-up consists of producer (and patron saint of dad-dancing) Andrew Fearn plugging in his laptop. Their gloriously unlikely success hasn’t changed the East Midlands duo’s minimalist, DIY approach.
Fearn’s electro-punk beats and basslines set the stage for frontman Jason Williamson to unleash his sweary, sweaty tirades – where pitch-black humour, lyrical wit and righteous rage at the sheer absurdity and awfulness of everyday life in the age of austerity all snarl at each other – in a furiously intense hour-long set dedicated to a kindred spirit, the late Keith Flint of the Prodigy.
The charismatic, ranting vocalist can cut an intimidating figure but dismantles any clichés of the macho, angst-ridden frontman with his cheeky grins and camp gestures, while Fearn similarly mocks the idea of the enigmatic musical mastermind as he bobs around swigging from a bottle of lager.
New album Eton Alive dominates, with opener Welcome To The Payzone adding to their canon of tales of minimum wage life and rubbish consumerism, while Kebab Spider’s dance beats show the new depth to their sound when contrasted with the brutal attack of early songs like Jobseeker – which sends the packed dancefloor crazy.
Top It Up and Discourse reflect a growing theme in the 40-something band’s lyrics, the perils of youthful hedonism and lad culture colliding with the realities of adulthood. Meanwhile TCR and the gleeful vindication of their anti-Sir Philip Green rant BHS both sound like established classics.
Oh, and has any lyricist more succinctly captured the petty humiliations of encroaching middle age than Williamson’s cry of “Slim shirt! Belly pops out!” in Big Burt?