Sleaford Mods arrived in Glasgow amidst an ongoing riff between singer Jason Williamson and a section of the band’s fans.
Earlier in the tour, someone in Spain threw a Palestinian keffiyeh on stage whilst heckling the band; the item was thrown back into the crowd with a warning that the gig would be abandoned if it happened again… it happened again and the rest is history!
Williamson addressed the issue on his social media platform whereby he asked that he be recognised for being the singer in a band and not a political commentator… “I’m a singer; my job is music”.
Given that Glasgow is recognised as being a city that has displayed strong support for the plight of the people of Gaza during the current war in the Middle East… it could have been a long and testing night!
Thankfully those in attendance were glad to take a break from the apocalyptic scenes we are being bombarded with day in and day out and they were there for the Sleaford Mods and nothing else.
The night’s entertainment kicked off very early after the doors opened and, as such, PCN missed the majority of the set by BDGR. The two piece sounded pretty good and some good crowd interaction and even used a trombone at one point! It would be unfair to review them based the strength of a couple of songs but you should definitely look out for them.
Next up, and highly anticipated, were Big Special. Hailing from the Birmingham area, Big Special has been attracting much attention with their big beats and hard hitting vocals. The two piece look, on first impression, like just another two piece spoken word over a backing track kinda act. Those with a keener eye will immediately notice the drum kit and that alone is enough to suggest that something a little bit different might be about to assault the ears.
Singer Joe Hicklin and drummer Callum Moloney enter the stage to much acclaim and a decent sized audience… Hicklin looks overdressed in his massive jacket and viking-esque beard because the stage at O2 is always hot! His trusty partner, Moloney, settles in behind his kit and after a few pleasantries they boys are ready to go.
Moloney gets the backing track running and they hit the ground running… from the very first beat they show us they mean business. It’s loud and its body shakingly bassy. It’s nicely programmed to have the acoustic drums and booming vocals sitting hitting the right spots. Moloney is a hard hitter in anyone’s book and on first listen you assume Hicklin is talk in rhymes whilst putting the World to task… you’d be wrong to assume in this case. Hicklin takes slightly different approach to the spoken word but then he plays his joker and sings. Not only does he sing but he has a cracking set of lungs; the boy knows how to hold a tune and he makes sure everyone present knows all about it.
The set was only 30 minutes long but the lads put it together and executed it perfectly and displayed why they are just about to be big(ger) news. Outstanding…!
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During the interlude we are treated to Kraftwerk on the background music; now THAT is good!
The lights dim and the huge light panels at the rear of the stage burst into blinding life. Sleaford Mods are in the house and get straight into it.
“We’re Sleaford Mods and everybody f**king hates us”
Andrew Fearn strides to the laptop and hits go like no-one has ever hit go before whirling away into his trance like state and Williamson shrieks like a demented bird of prey as they immediately start to tear the UK a new one!
Williamson commentates that “In England, no-one can hear you scream” and the overtones for the night were set.
A night of electro new-punk with loads of shouting of anti establishment sentiment by Williamson whilst Fearn dances like no-one is watching. A decade of vocal violence and electro backing hits is raced through as the boys give their punk tinged anarchy a good going over to the obvious delight of their adoring fans.
The tempo doesn’t drop for a second as old songs fight the new songs for space and validation in the set when, in all actuality, a decade of hits needs no validation and the Mods have earned the right to do what they do whilst ignoring the noise that makes the “everybody f**king hates us” declaration void and redundant.
The night was always going to be a success despite the machinations and internet diatribes currently surrounding the band and the music scene is better for it.
“I’m a singer: my job is music!”… Amen to that Jason Williamson!
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