Sleaford Mods / Purple

Scholar Bar, O2 Academy, Leicester on Mon 23rd Mar 2015

There's a story that Andy Wright, promoter from the now sadly defunct legendary Leicester venue, The Charlotte, tells. He was promoting one of his regular Jam/Who tribute nights across Facebook to potential audiences when he stumbled across a page for 'Sleaford Mods'. Mistaking this for a self interest group from a Lincolnshire town, he added an advert. The response he got was unexpected; "We're not from Sleaford and we're not mods."

Fast forward a couple of years and this unfortunate introduction appears to be forgotten about; here we are on a Monday night at a pretty busy Scholar bar, the smallest third venue of the Leicester University based O2 Academy to witness the second show in six months that Andy has promoted featuring Sleaford Mods. An audience predominantly made up of angry looking middle aged men are here to watch. Where are the students?

Before the main event, we're treated to a set of slacker rock from support act, Purple. This trio from Texas seem more excited to be in Leicester than most people who live here all year round. Perhaps, their exuberance is attributable to the fact that they know that their stay here is time limited but, it's fair to say, that their short set is a joy to watch. Purple centre around impressive drummer and vocalist, Hanna Brewer. She's a fizzing energy ball; a drummer of considerable ability; a shouter and a screamer. She could be offspring of Cobain and Courtney. It's hard to take your eyes from her. Flanked by guitar player,Taylor and bass player, Joe, their undeniable lo-fi attitude doesn't mask the high quality of their performance ethic. The band name has been etched into the bass drum with purple felt tip. The T-Shirts are unwashed. I get pretty caught up in the vibrancy and enthusiasm on show and mark Purple as ones to see again.

Sleaford Mods take to the stage. Like Purple before them, they have a DIY, lo-fi style; a marmite that might never appeal to the masses. Those that are here, the ranters and reformed ravers, probably see much of their lives amidst the stream of cultural reference and bilious bites that spews with charm from the mouth of Jason Williamson. The ideas come at you so thick and fast that it hurts. In the space of seconds, we get mention of Boris Johnson, The Cheeky Girls, On The Buses and a vampire-like James Mason. It's all delivered like a Phil Daniels 'Park Life' extended remix, with an edge of Mark E. Smith's madness. It's hard not to be impressed.

Beside Williamson stands the other member of the duo, Andrew Fearn. His role is less frantic, more minimal. Between songs, he approaches his deck. He presses a button or two to launch the new track, looks pleased with himself for doing so without complication and returns to his initial space to admire the punkish poetry of Williamson. Fearn sways from side to side; sometimes the sway becomes a stagger; he's like a less-energetic Bez. The contrast between the two on stage adds to the theatre. It's working class performance art.

This isn't a show to bring a prude to. Angry swearing is laundered liberally throughout. We're all a bunch of cocks, with managers who are a piece of 'ducking' shit, going on a five day bender. God help us if we're from Sarf London where they're so outrageous and been doing drugs for ages. It's a sneery soapbox that Williamson launches his vitriol from and this correspondent can't help but be captivated. It's all over far too quickly. There's an encore which seems like too much of a concession to the conventional. They've played the tunes that got them some profile last year; they've played new tunes that prove there's mileage in this tank. The summer festival season is nearly upon us again and it's hard not to imagine the star of Sleaford Mods rising when festival goers stumble across their rant-fuelled charms.

article by: Sean Tizzard

published: 24/03/2015 13:59



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