Prior to their headline show at Leeds Beckett Students’ Union, a tweet from the Sleaford Mods twitter account reads: “Town today awash with homeless folk. Desperate. Every time I go in it breaks my fuckin heart. The English murder game. Nothing changes.” On the back of their most recent album, English Tapas, which protrudes from the trudge and tripe of austerity Britain, here’s a duo that seeks to give voice to the frustrations of the many against the tragedies we see in everyday life.
Equipped with the bare minimum of setups, expert laptop-play-presser Andrew Fearn switches on the beats, an invitation for vocalist Jason Williamson to lay down his abrasive reflections. The set kicks off with the energetic anthems ‘Army Nights’ and ‘Just Like We Do’, allowing Williamson to dive into his charismatic dance breaks, which lie somewhere along the spectrum between a reserved James Brown and the highly embarrassing uncle at the wedding reception – leaning most definitely towards the latter end.
Unlike Fearn, who stands clutching his bottle of Stella Artois and nodding his head in silence, Williamson plunges on without stopping for breath, as the set takes a much more aggressive and infuriated turn. Ploughing through the second half of the show with ‘Time Sands’, ‘B.H.S’ and ‘Jobseeker’, Williamson finds solace in sticking two fingers up to just about everything, from the “able-bodied vultures” of Philip Green’s ilk to the depressing despair of unemployment.
But here within the bitter barks of the most imaginative profanity lies the beauty of Sleaford Mods. They seek only to portray urban working class life in Britain with the most precise attitude; for Williamson, there’s no point in shading the honest truth with shallow patter, he’s gonna say it as it fucking is.