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Sleaford Mods review: The atmosphere of the entire gig was positive and full of humour

PUBLISHED: 13:54 15 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:24 15 April 2019

Sleaford Mods headlining The Waterfront in Norwich. Picture: Paul Jones

Sleaford Mods headlining The Waterfront in Norwich. Picture: Paul Jones

Paul Jones

Pugilist electro-punk duo Sleaford Mods returned to Norwich on Saturday night to play at The Waterfront.

LIINES supporting Sleaford Mods at The Waterfront in Norwich. Picture: Paul JonesLIINES supporting Sleaford Mods at The Waterfront in Norwich. Picture: Paul Jones

This was the first time I had seen them perform live and I was looking forward to seeing how they transferred their, raw, minimalist, DIY production style to the stage. After all, their abrasive, rebellious ethos should, in theory, be a perfect fit to this wonderfully well-worn and gritty club.

To my delight, their 'sound-check' consisted of Andrew Fearn's (a.k.a Infant) worn looking laptop being plonked on stage on top of an up-turned flightcase and plugged in. No fancy rigs or modular synths in sight.

Although, I understand on previous tours he used to use a stack of old crates, so tonight marks a significant upgrade! After fifteen minutes or so, and with little fanfare, Fearn entered the stage alongside vocalist and main focal-point, Jason Williamson.

LIINES supporting Sleaford Mods at The Waterfront in Norwich. Picture: Paul JonesLIINES supporting Sleaford Mods at The Waterfront in Norwich. Picture: Paul Jones

Now, as I'm also the photographer, I'm busy for the first three songs in the photo-pit trying (and usually failing) to get some good shots. But it gives me a great close up perspective of the artists.

I was fascinated by Fearn's contribution throughout which is, press a button to kick of each of his backing track productions, pick up his beer, dance along and repeat. It's an absolute middle-finger to several electronic acts and DJs who knob-twiddle in po-faced pretentiousness.

The fact he just seems to be loving every second of it with a big smile on his face adds another level to my respect for the sheer honesty of it.

Sleaford Mods headlining The Waterfront in Norwich. Picture: Paul JonesSleaford Mods headlining The Waterfront in Norwich. Picture: Paul Jones

Williamson meanwhile is happy to absorb the attention of the packed crowd as he launches into each song with ferocious vitriol, literally spitting his way through the set.

I was slightly anxious to be in such close proximity beforehand, given his inflammatory nature and provocative online personality. But as it turned out the atmosphere of the entire gig was positive and full of humour with him pulling off incredible dad-dance moves, Elvis poses and other random, sweaty postures.

Again, I appreciated the honesty of his performance, as he spat lyrics in his own Midland's accent, attacking pop culture, celebrities, unemployment and capitalism using a tremendous array of profanity.

Kudos has to be given to Manchester support band LIINES, who were good. Consisting of Zoe, Tamsin and Leila, they warmed up the feisty crowd impeccably for forty five minutes with their raw and uncompromising post-punk sound. They seemed an astute choice and have a top quality, tight drummer.

Sleaford Mods' hour-and-a-bit long set largely consisted of new material from Eton Alive such as Kebab Spider, which got a strong reaction from a very boisterous room, Big Burt and current single Discourse.

Older crowd favourites also get rolled out including Jobseeker and Tied Up In Nottz, keeping the energy up throughout. However, for me, the novelty of a sweaty mid-forties guy loudly spouting off about the world alongside his mate wore off after 45 minutes. They were far from the best act I've seen perform in this great venue. The two lads may not be too happy to hear this but I much preferred watching Idles play live in Liverpool last week.

• For more Norwich music check out our dedicated page every Thursday in the Eastern Daily Press and Norwich Evening News or follow Enjoy Music More on Twitter and Instagram

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