“So Mr Williamson, what have done to find gainful employment since your last signing on date?” If you don’t know the answer to the above question, then you probably haven’t come across the Sleaford Mods yet. Where have you been?
Jason, the aforementioned Mr Williamson, had been working in music for a number of years before he teamed up with Andrew Fearn after seeing him do a DJ set in Nottingham. Fearn started providing the music for the Sleaford mods in 2012 and they were soon getting noticed. The next few years saw them graduate from small rooms in the backs of pubs to a blistering set on the John Peel stage at Glastonbury in 2015. I was lucky enough to be at at one of those pub gigs and hadn’t seen them since, so I was curious if the energy that I experienced in north Milton Keynes could be transferred to the much larger room that is the Roundhouse.
We arrived in time to see the second support act, Consumer Electronics. Pioneers of power electronics, they have been around in some form or other since 1982. Uncompromising and noisy, but never unsettling in the way that other bands working in extreme electronica can be. One track even came across as a power electronics reworking of “The Weight” by The Band. Support act over, we didn’t have to wait long for the main event. A quick introduction and straight into the show. Any concerns I may have had about the Sleaford Mods’ ability to transfer to a larger venue were very quickly dispelled as each song added to the intensity in the room. The songs were a good mix of old and new, with all five tracks from the recent EP being played as well as stuff from as far back as “Fizzy” from Austerity Dogs. They seem to have a good feel for what are their best or, at least, most popular songs, as these make up a good proportion of the set.
Nevertheless, there is a palpable build-up to “Jobseeker”. It’s still their best song; joyous and a condemnation of the times we live in and a reminder that we are part of Hunter S Thompson’s generation of swine, whether we choose to be or not. Three more songs and they are finished. No encore, but the intensity at the end of the set couldn’t have been recaptured, so it was probably for the best. The Sleaford Mods are still one of the most rewarding live bands around. They don’t pander to you, but you will not be disappointed. The answer to the question above? “Fuck all.”
Sleaford Mods 22 September Roundhouse
Image: Nick Henderson