LIVE: Sleaford Mods @ Brighton Dome, Brighton
If there was one British city that’d be a safe bet to welcome Sleaford Mods’ Tory-targeted vitriol with open arms, it’d be the left-leaning luvvies of Brighton. It’s fitting then, that the duo concluded their biggest (in terms of venue size) and most impressive UK and Ireland tour in the south coast’s liberal bubble.
Selling out the historic Brighton Dome is no mean feat, but almost testament to the Tory fatigue felt in the coastal city, with Mods’ latest album Spare Ribs damning their continued ineptitude and conduct throughout the pandemic. And the Nottingham pair of Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn delivered the goods, with plenty of profanity.
With Dry Cleaning (who were recently awarded with Rough Trade’s and local Brighton record store Resident’s No.1 Album of the Year title for the superb New Long Leg) supporting, there was a slight worry the lack of harmonic vocals could grow tiresome after a whole evening with near-spoken word delivery. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, with the delightfully droll four-piece proving to be as kinetic as you’d hope.
By the time Mods entered the stage, the 2000-strong crowd was clearly sauced (it was Friday for goodness sake) to which Williamson roused the rowdy front rows, screaming “come on then!” as he pulsed his fists which set the tempo for their 23-song set.
From then on the sheer energy and endurance from Williamson was quite mesmerising - twisting and swirling around his microphone, he spat his socially conscious and politically damning lyrics with continued venom, adding particular emphasis to the word “cunt” when applicable.
Old favourite ‘Jolly Fucker’ drew both smirks and chants, whilst everyone cheered for ‘Mork N Mindy’ maybe expecting Billy Nomates to jog on to join them. Unfortunately there weren’t any guest appearances tonight - Amyl and the Sniffers’ Amy Taylor was a no-show on ‘Nudge It’ having contracted Covid - but it genuinely did not matter, or detract from the spectacle.
Sleaford Mods possess an unbelievable amount of presence - considering there’s only two of them, no typical instruments, and no overly fancy stage trickery, the show is centred around Hearn’s lackadaisical skanking with a beer can in hand, and Williamson’s spasmodic movements as he jolts to and fro, side to side, back and forth. All the while spluttering his uniquely acerbic (and often hilarious) lyrics non-stop.
Squeezing a cover of Yazoo’s ‘Don’t Go’ into the set was a welcome surprise, but the evening’s biggest cheer came for ‘Jobseeker’ as their performance came to a crescendo.
Nottingham’s town criers brought their tour to a close in typically scathing fashion, but at arguably the peak of their career you wonder how they can top it. For as long as the Tories are in power, however, we’ll no doubt have Sleaford Mods to take them down a peg. Or ten.