Live: Sleaford Mods, Leeds Irish Centre

Last time I saw Sleaford Mods it was in a much smaller venue and it was visceral as Jason Williamson stalked the stage like a caged animal spitting out his explicit lyrics laying bare the lives of Britain’s dispossessed.

But something has been lost in this cavernous venue as all that pent up anger just seemed to dissipate the further back you go until it just became a bloke bopping along to tunes from a laptop and his mate shouting.

It might have been the too brightly lit stage that gave the whole thing a cabaret feel? It might have been the weedy PA that was more suited to a school disco? It could have been a bit too much of the new album Key Markets in the middle of the show as the audience lost interest?

Or it might just be that two blokes not doing very much on a big stage in a medium sized venue is not much of a show. Equally Andrew Fearn’s beats are pretty repetitive after a while and he needs to up his game.

It’s shame as on their day the Mods are a stunning live act willing to tell it like it is for many people in Austerity Britain as the rest of the craven music industry does nowt to challenge the establishment.

It was typically bold of them to kick off with so many news song like Arabia ,Bronx In a Six and No One’s Bothered, which I was down the front for, so got the full force of Williamson’s rage and lyrical power.

But as I retired to the back the power drainage was palpable to the point I ended up chatting to a bloke about his recent bike ride. Old favourites Fizzy and the always mighty Tiswas restored a bit of energy, but a lot of the room was lost at that point.

The room did light up for Tied Up in Nottz complete with crowd surfing, and a quite majestic Jobseeker as the very drunk posh teens at the front finally got to singalong to words that are so far outside their own experience it is laughable.

Sleaford Mods make much of how ‘real’ they are, but they need to really need to think through their live show which is just too lo-fi for these size venues, or they are in danger of becoming as complacent as some of the big names they love to slag off.

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