Sleaford Mods. Rock City, Nottingham. 9.10.15
I came late to Sleaford Mods. I’m not sure if the first time I saw them was autumn 2006 or spring 2007. For sure it was at Hopkinson’s on Station Street. I remember the short show was sexually graphic and absolutely hilarious. I’ve seen them regularly enough since; Golden Fleece, Nottingham Contemporary, Bodega, 100 Club and on Friday night at Rock City for their “triumphant homecoming” last-night-of-tour gig.
Great reception, smashing atmosphere, super sound, blistering show, except for a lull around the new single when for the first time I can hear chatting at the back of the room. Top marks for delivery and execution. And for playing to the gallery. Jason Williamson, always strikingly, scarily compelling, is now almost a front rank vocal performer.
So many people seem able to connect with Sleaford Mods on some visceral level, perhaps seeing in them expression of something that they are less able to articulate themselves, but it doesn’t work like that for me. My inner neo-liberal (ha ha) does not allow me to wallow so heartily in nihilism. I can enjoy this, but I prefer something more optimistic. And more inclusive.
Like Jeremy Corbyn, Sleaford Mods’ natural constituency is a thin slice of society. The audience is primarily made up of middle-aged, middle-weight men, some channelling an inner teenager chucking beer around. There are a few younger people, some even older people, a reasonable number of women. They are almost exclusively white. I don’t think Sleaford Mods are speaking for, to or of Britain as it more broadly is, as it more broadly thinks and feels. It’s not that dark a place. There is more light. More sunshine. More warmth.
It was a great night. It’s a great act (let’s not forget that it’s an act) for which acclaim and recognition, and hopefully money, is due and deserved. They are the best of Nottingham and the worst of Nottingham in one explosive package. But now might be a good time for Sleaford Mods’ bomb to go off.
It starts to feel a bit ugly.
And it’s not funny anymore.