Live Review

Sleaford Mods, Enola @ The Princess Theatre

UK punk-hop duo Sleaford Mods are touring Australia off the back of their new studio album release UK Grim, and they hit the Princess Bandroom with Melbourne post-punks Enola supporting on a mild Tuesday night in Woolloongabba.

Enola doesn’t have a lot of extant recorded material, but they are sitting on some very polished songs with the feel of a My Bloody Valentine or even Cat Power. I’d very much expect to hear more from Enola if you’re a fan of the Aussie post-punk/shoegaze scene.

Sleaford Mods themselves set up the stage with two rows of backing lights, a mic and Andrew Fearn’s laptop set up to go. Sleaford Mods are notably unpretentious about how they produce their music, they don’t need to lug around mounds of DJ equipment just for show – the rhythm and all of the guest artist feature verses are played back through Andrew’s lappie for vocalist Jason Williamson to perform around. They have some great features, Billy No Mates on Mork N Mindy, Florence Shaw on the new track Force 10 From Navarone, and Australian Amy Taylor (of Amyl & The Sniffers) on Nudge It, all tracks featured in the relentless hour-and-a-half-set.

The performance aspect of Sleaford Mods is key to their appeal, these two are a couple of working-class lads from Nottingham in the UK and they are set to continue the work of British counter-cultural artists like The Clash, The Jam and The Who. Their name comes from Jason’s musical association with the British ‘mod’ subculture, but what Jason delivers on the microphone is heavily influenced in style and delivery by rap. Williamson has a whole vocabulary of physical tics for performance: he’ll bare his teeth like a chimpanzee, hold his drink on top of his head and saunter backwards and forwards across the stage to the rhythm of the music and as according to the needs of his inexhaustible verses.

The Meanjin-Brisbane audience absolutely loved it, T.C.R., McFlurry, Tied Up in Nottz and UK Grim were crowd favourites. Williamson’s themes are almost universally disgust and irony as he abstracts the ordinary of UK life into something awful or at best, ridiculous. Sleaford Mods have made a niche in between punk and hip-hop that is wholly unique to themselves. Now that they’re blowing up worldwide, it’s safe to say that this is a musical project you can’t afford to miss.

- Matt Hall.


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