Sleaford Mods – Brighton Concorde 2 (23.05.15)

The duo's brilliant, provocative state of the nation missives easily win over a capacity Brighton crowd

May 22nd, 2015 at Brighton Concorde 2 / By Norman Miller
Sleaford Mods – Brighton Concorde 2 (23.05.15) Sleaford Mods frontman (and former benefits officer) Jason Williamson has been spitting out fiercely pointed and smart lyrical rage at a crap world, crap jobs and crap humans since 2006. But it was the 2010 addition of loops and rhythms from DJ musician Andrew Fearn that took things to the brilliant heights first heard on 2012's Wank (the 5th album released under the Mods moniker).

For their fantastic ferocious set by the sea, the duo focus on 2013's Austerity Dogs and last year's Divide And Exit over an hour of uniquely wired-and-witty 'thug rap' that nods lyrically/musically at to John Cooper Clarke, Jimmy Pursey, Snivelling Shits, Happy Mondays, The Fall and late '70s political punksters Basement 5.

When it comes to perfectly directed foul-mouthed blast, though, Williamson channels The Thick Of It's Malcolm Tucker and ratchets it up to brilliant new heights of scabrous potency, from his opening “Bunch of cocks” tirade onward.

He's is a breathtaking force of nature on stage – or as he'd probably have it, a fucking force of cunty shit bollocks nature – delivering scathing, raging lyrics in a hail of fine spit and non-stop jerky head-nods. Beside him, Fearn presses Start and Stop on the laptop then Bez-bops gleefully through each number with hands thrust in pockets.

The songs are gushing streams of consciousness ripping through the shitty underside of British life. But they're brilliantly observed attacks not just angry rants, with lyrics as smart as they are seething. Take 'Jobseeker', blasted out near the end of the set: “Can of Strongbow, I’m a mess/ Desperately clutching on to a leaflet on depression/ Supplied to me by the NHS/ Is anyone’s guess how I got here?

Fearn's backing tracks work brilliantly with the lyrics – steady, relentless but never dull. 'New Labour, New Danger' and 'Jolly Fucker' sweep along to a mesmerising thud, while rich rumbling bass underpins 'Little Ditty'. 'McFlurry' slows the pace without letting the energy drop an instant, contrasting with a magnificently loping 'Tied Up In Nottz' or a crazed disco take on 'Jobseeker'.

There's an almost poppy feel to the brilliant 'Tiswas', while Williamson shimmies across the stage in scabrous joy during 'Fizzy'. 'Bronx In A Six' is a sexy strut, containing what Williamson once picked out as his favourite lyric: “All you chinny wine tasters die in boxes like the rest of us wasters”.

The rammed Concorde crowd belts out favourite lines along the way, with proceedings brought to a rapturous end in encores including darkly slinky new number 'Tarantula Deadly Cargo' and a brilliant 'Tweet Tweet Twee't. More to think about and enjoy in an hour than a lot of bands manage in a career.