Sound of 21st century Britain?
Jason Williamson, vocalist and one half of Nottingham rant-punk outfit The Sleaford Mods, is pretty pissed off. Swigging on a bottle of water while prowling around The Lexington’s stage with a look in his eye as if he is three pills deep and right near the edge, no one is safe from his acerbic tongue. Those who have been in for his lashings recently include, but are not limited to: Miles Kane (associate of tax dodgers Arctic Monkeys who Williamson dubbed a “pretender” and told to “leave gracefully” or be blocked when Kane followed the Mods on Twitter), Margaret Thatcher (“Just one of many legitimate criminals who represent world order”), and those he deems to be milking past successes (“Cunts, all of them, traitors to the human legacy”).
Meanwhile, the other half of The Sleaford Mods, Andrew Fearn, is behind a MacBook looking like he has recently been released from a methadone clinic and is currently residing in a halfway house. He bops his head agreeably to the sparse beats of his own creation, swigs from a bottle of beer and presses play at the start of each song.
The Lexington is loving it and Williamson gets more and more riled up with each passing rant, although at the same time, he is clearly basking in the band’s recent critical acclaim and the cheers of the sweaty crowd crammed into the Islington pub. In under an hour, the pair plough relentlessly through a succession of anti-austerity recession Britian centred minimal post-punk electro rants. Much of the riotous cacophany is gleaned from their latest record Divide and Exit, which every major music publication from the Guardian to NME to Pitchfork has jizzed all over. “Tied Up In Nottz”, “A Little Ditty”, and “Tiswas” fly by in a flurry of profanities and sweat. It’s a damn hot London night and Williamson and the crowd are sweating up a storm.
The duo also take songs from their extensive back catalogue; “Jobseeker” and “Fizzy” are particular highlights. By far the most interesting aspect of The Sleaford Mods is that instead of directly attacking the recession, The Daily Mail, or the Conservative government, Williamson tells stories. He creates characters that are instantly, relatable, deplorable and believable. “Jobseeker”‘s disgusting protagonist is a bit of a twat, but his disgust with society is extremely understandable. “Fizzy”‘s narrator, who is disgusted with the idiotic, ignorant, and perverted people who populate his work superiors, is one whose anger and vitriol is barely restrained and both eloquent and vulgar.
By the time, after only just under an hour, Williamson declares that “This is our last song”, the crowd is already exhausted, such have been the high energy diatribes spewing forth from his potty mouth. The crowd pours out of The Lexington, muttering, “Fucking hell”, and “That was intense.” They’re not wrong. The Sleaford Mods have been declared the voice of Britain in the 21st century, if that’s the case I’m afraid we may all be just a little bit fucked.