Live Music Review. The Sleaford Mods: Live at La Belle Angele, Edinburgh. 14/10/15


To start with it, was probably not my best move to spend the evening of my wife’s birthday in a nightclub listening to Britain’s most interesting band.

The Sleaford Mods are like no other band ever and yet are like an amalgam of many; PIL, Mark E. Smith and John Cooper Clarke spring immediately to mind on the vocal front underscored by The Prodigy.

The set starts slowly(ish) and immediately it’s apparent that, good as it is La Belle Angele’s sound system is, it is not subtle enough to enunciate each of Jason Williamson’s vitriol-fuelled words; Jolly Fucker and Bunch of Cunts being two fairly representative song titles.  What follows is a gradual winding up of the tension spring as each song adds one or two bpm’s to the tempo and the volume gradually cranks up in tandem with the speed.

Or so it seems.

The hatred of working class life and utter disgust at austerity UK lays the foundation for this 55 minute set of songs rarely longer than two minutes long.  I say songs but we are talking poetry here as very few melodies stray into Williamson’s performance.  That said, it is a tuneful, rhythmic affair as Andrew Fearn drives the groove through his laptop.  His set consisted of beer drinking, slouching (upright admittedly) with both hands in the pockets of his jeans and the pressing of ‘play’ every other minute.

And yet his contribution is every bit as vital as Williamson’s as the groove flirts with disco, dubstep, rave and heavy metal in a relentless thundering of bass, drum and keyboard.

It’s an extraordinary contrast to the ever more demonic performance of Williamson who reaches the set end drenched in sweat and surely with a larynx in spasm.

They call it post punk/hip-hop.

I call it mesmerising.

Don’t fear the cowbell.

Cowbells have their place in rock music.  And this is one of the places…

But can you imagine the recording session?

UPDATE:  My friend Keith Stoddard suggests that The Move did a better cowbell than Blue Oyster Cult and he is right.

Any other suggestions?

UPDATE: Here’s another…

UPDATE:  The stakes are rising

UPDATE: And another

UPDATE:  Maybe we can go no further than this…