8th November | O2 Academy

Sleaford Mods – essentially a middle aged man mouthing off and his friend hiding behind a laptop. If you walked into your local pub and saw this display, would you turn around and leave? Probably so, yet the duo from Nottingham filled out the O2 Academy with loyal and excited fans. So what makes Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn different?

Recently signing to Rough Trade Records earlier this year, broadening their scope and getting their music across to a bigger audience – which is a reflection on the venue upgrade from last year’s performance at the Bierkeller. Opening with ‘I Can Tell’  from their latest EP TCR, the predominately white, middle aged crowd instantly tear their mouths away from their red stripe with an uproar, knowing most, if not all of the words.

They’re compelling, abrasive and plain bloody entertaining – Jason Williamson’s twitch matched with his stumbling around the stage in which he says “is linked to his concentration” (take that as you will) and Andrew’s swaying behind the laptop is immediately eye catching. How exactly have these two filled out the O2?

Physical distractions aside, stripping it down to just the lyrics and you can really hear the references to austerity-era Britain and working class life. Williamson has recently been suspended from the Labour party due to an explicit tweet regarding one of the MP’s, yet another controversial statement from one half of the duo. You can feel the passion from Williamson, particularly in the new material for both ‘I Can Tell’ and ‘TCR’ as each word is delivered with honesty and anger.

The crowd are receptive –  shouting along with pints being flung on stage but through the sea of beer you get the sense of a community, that we’re all in this together. As much as the focus is on the latest tracks, Williamson and his partner in crime still deliver the crowd pleasers – ‘Jobseeker’ and ‘Tweet Tweet Tweet’ getting the crowd revved up, to the point where two guys in front of me are being driven to the exit. Despite the odd altercations, there was nothing bringing the mood down – every single person in the room used up every bit of energy they had right up to the very end of the set.

So what makes Sleaford Mods different? They’re normal people, standing for something and being a voice for many members of the public. The soundtrack to broken Britain.

Check out the video for ‘TCR’ below.