SLEAFORD MODSEVOL @ The Kazimier 3/3/15
In an age of austerity where the working-class are once again being trampled upon by waxy-faced Eton toffs and their banker friends, whilst simultaneously being portrayed as lazy, benefit-scrounging scum, it is natural that there will be a reaction. Though politically-inflected music can often be a painful and embarrassing thing to witness there are those who wear it well. Tonight’s headliners SLEAFORD MODS are prime examples.
With the room at fever pitch, Sleaford Mods emerge and launch into a predictably riotous display. They are a strange spectacle to behold: as Jason Williamson circles and attacks his microphone like an amphetamine-pumped hyena, producer Andrew Lindsay stays within two feet of his laptop, swaying gently and nursing his beer. This is not because he is kept busy with producing live sounds, as he simply presses play on a pre-recorded track at the start of each song. But this dichotomy of on-stage personas really works, and Williamson has enough energy to be up there on his own.
The set moves from one intense moment to the next. Everything from the Job Centre to Cameron to cheap cider to various celebrities is subject to Williamson’s poetic torrents of abuse, and it becomes clear that the man has a Malcom Tucker-esque gift for the use of a swear word. Nihilistic and angry, the lyrics take everything in scorn yet somehow seem to turn inwards, signalling a certain hopelessness and ideological void that Williamson perhaps detects in himself. Lines such as “I got called an anarchist, but that’s for the middle-class train spotters” signal his attitude towards certain identities, and the pair are undoubtedly a difficult entity to summarise. For a generation who gets most of their world news stories from Vice, Williamson and Lindsay seem symptomatic of their times and do a better job of reflecting it than most of their contemporaries. Political apathy is utterly pervasive, and though it is rewarding to see everyone in The Kazimier enjoying themselves and smiling wryly at the profanities raining down from the stage, it is hard to imagine anyone going home and having a proper think about who they were aimed at. But maybe I’m just being a kill joy. For now there’s nothing more to do than sway gently and nurse my beer to the glorious strains of Tiswas.