As part of the esteemed, annual Dark Mofo Festival here in Hobart, I came to this gig not really knowing what to expect of a live performance from these champions of the UK working class, and how that may translate to a non-UK audience. Given that they are hard to pigeon-hole due to their genre-defying style – are they post-punk, punk, hip-hop, rap, grime, electronic or rock – I attended, camera in hand, to see what I could make of them. The band themselves describe their music as “electronic munt minimalist punk-hop rants for the working class”.
Any doubts I had about how they translated to this largely Australian audience were somewhat dispelled as the venue, Hobart’s Odeon Theatre, quickly filled to capacity.
As Jason Williamson (vocals) and Andrew Fearn (programming, sequencing and highly-infectious dancing) took to the stage, I set myself in the photo/security pit for the obligatory three song shooting limit, and fired away under some, at times, fit-inducing lighting.
Once relieved of the photo/security pit, I was able to move up to the mezzanine level which provides a good deal of seating for the audience members who prefer a little more comfort than standing down on the lower level. It was here that I was finally convinced of the influence that the Mods were having on our audience, as many people were up out of their seats, and boogeying along with the band, the joyful abandon written all over their faces. The music was quite simply, infectious.
The show was a veritable parade of hits from across Sleaford Mods catalogue, including the title track from latest album, UK Grim, the anthemic T.C.R. and ‘Nudge It’ (the original of which features Amy Taylor from Amyl & The Sniffers). Plenty of mesmerising beats coupled with Jason’s heavily accented delivery dragged this reviewer from the edge of uncertainty into instant fandom.
From their working-class background, this is a band that is slowly conquering the world with their somewhat abrasive, yet sobering musings on social inequality, culture and working class life.
I walked into this gig liking, but perhaps not loving the band, but my mind was quickly changed, and I have been converted. Perhaps it is time to go and buy one or two of those CD’s…..
All Images: ©fullonrockphotography/Andrew Fuller