Monday, March 31, 2014

Sleaford Mods, Astral Social Club, Cowtown. Wharf Chambers, Leeds, 29th March 2014

There's a Marty Robbins look-a-like in the Duncan collecting empties; cowboy hat, cowboy boots, black jeans, droopy tash, fringed suede jacket and bootlace tie, the full job. The barmaid drops my money behind the bar and spends an age looking for it,
'leave it for cleaner love',
'I can't, till'll be out'.

In the Duck and Drake there's a bloke with chameleon eyes, a fascist gnome and yummy pickled eggs.The Templar is full of depressed middle aged heavy drinking males keeping an eye on the Leeds score and it stinks of disinfectant.

The Sleaford Mods have sold out the Wharf Chambers and the bar is four deep. By the time they appear Campbell has sawn a violin in half and Cowtown have paid homage to Devo and The Units whilst bantering with the audience who want to know where George is.

In the morning I wake up with a foggy head and the first words that enter my head are MISTER JOLLY FUCKER!!

The last time I saw the Sleaford Mods they were playing to a small group of people in a small venue in Manchester. Tonight's gig has been chosen by the Guardian as the gig of the week. In September they'll play Manchester Academy.

I spin the single I bought as my head clears.  MISTER JOLLY FUCKER!!

Williamson scrats the back of his head like he’s got an OCD, leans up and in to the mic, streaming words of rant, words, spitting out the words, forefinger flicking running up and off the underside of his nose, mock wanks, bottle in hand. Fearn drinks from cans of lager, eyes popping, legs flexing, head disappearing in clouds of e-cig smoke as each song tears past.

Campbell is on inspired form. A fluid Astral Social Club set, an ever folding piece that keeps on collapsing in to itself that becomes ever more compulsive and you just know that he wont be able to keep it in forever, fingers pointing to the sky and bringing it down and then like a spurting ball sack he goes and gets his saw out and starts sawing his violin into  segments but not just see saw like he's putting a shelf up these are deliberate slow draws of the arm where each saw tooth rips up like a bomb going off and then he lets it go and its like the dam has been burst and you can feel people getting into it even the old punk with the Mohican whose got a Sleafords patch on.

The place is packed and the bar is four deep. They kick off with Mr Jolly Fucker and you can sense that we are witnessing something very special. Talk is of the day that punk broke and people making music that they can throw at governments. We are all in on this together in this small room that smells of beer, swaying about, enjoying the ride.

Some of us have been waiting for this for a long time, since the day we eventually found Norman Records in that prefabricated brutalist concrete block in Wortley at the back of Salford Van Hire with their name written in faded Biro on a sticker the size of a book of matches.

People are singing along. I've seen them a few times now but never seen people singing along. So we sing lustfully along. MISTER JOLLY FUCKER!!

Even if they split up tomorrow they will have already left their mark. Urgent, hurried, spot on pokes in the eye, bullseye put downs of the indifferent rich and the hopeless rock stars who just cant help themselves, the fuck you I'm alright Jack merchants and the gaffers who haven't got a fucking clue mate, spitting venom, each word loaded with bile and humour the, piss pot politicians and indifferent others.

In the taxi on the way home MISTER JOLLY FUCKER!!

1 comment:

  1. What I didn't see that night doesn't matter, this review does the job of keeping a very special memory alive. In the words of my old mate Gordon (approx 60 yrs) "Sleaford Mods? They were fucking brilliant!" x