Sleaford Mods: Club Academy, Manchester

Club Academy, in Manchester, was absolutely packed with a boisterous crowd eager for the arrival of Sleaford Mods. Before the main event they were treated to two very varied support acts, Alias Kid and Cappo.

First up were Manchester’s own rockers Alias Kid, a band touted for big things by BBC Introducing amongst many others. Heavily influenced by 90’s Indie, Alias Kid were warmly received by the crowd. With more than a hint of The Charlatans they provided some real moments of quality.

Then came a complete switch of styles as Cappo, in his own words, was about to hit us up with some lyricism. A talented rapper with grit and determination, Cappo’s grimey style and rapid lyrics had the audience engrossed. Then roughly three songs into his set he was joined on stage by Vandal Savage and Juga-Naut. Juga-Naut seemed to be dressed similarly to Roy Chubby Brown, and his mannerisms and contribution to the set did seem like a comedy character, but in my opinion Roy Chubby Brown is not a comedy character and more like a hate preacher. The addition of these two was designed to pick up the pace but it was at this point I started to switch off. On his own Cappo was a creative and interesting act but as the other two came on and just started shouting all his good work was literally drowned out.

As Sleaford Mods entered the stage the anticipation, excitement and adoration of the crowd was palpable. This anticipation was fully justified as Jason Williamson proved to be a mesmeric and invigorating stage presence. Williamson’s almost Tourette’s style delivery means you can’t take your eyes off him. The way the frequent swear words are often quickly shouted, the random and occasional sheep impressions and the seemingly involuntary arm movements as he repeatedly swipes and taps his head are fixating. The visual display only adds to the true star of the show, their gritty, dark and deeply political lyrics. Williamson is undoubtedly the voice of the masses, anyone can write protest and political lyrics but the energy and passion in which they are delivered makes you believe that if anyone is actually going to do anything about the government then he is a genuine candidate. The many stream of consciousness segments during his performance show his lightning fast whit and talent for mixing furious rants with spoken word poetry. In polar opposite to Williamson’s furious passion, energy and sweat is musician Andrew Feam who just presses play on his laptop as each track begins then stands there nodding along with his hands in his pockets. He isn’t really part of the live performance but the beats he creates are and intrinsic part of what makes Sleaford Mods so addictive.

Their set comprised of fans favourites like “Fizzy”, “Giddy On The Ciggies” and “Tweet Tweet Tweet” but they also treated us to two brand new tracks. One of these was “BHS” and was clearly them venting their outrage toward Phillip Green. The lyrics just confirmed their status as the voice of the angry left with the chorus being “We’re going down like BHS/ While the able-bodied vultures monitor and pick at us/ Laying on a boat mate what do you do.” The track ends on “You fat bastard/ You fat bastard/ Drown!”