Sleaford Mods at the O2 Academy Bristol - Live Music Review

Posted on: 2019-04-10

Our rating:

On come the Mods to a roar from the adrenalin fuelled crowd and away they go. Jason Williamson grabs the mic stand like the scruff of an opposite in a pub fight and verbally explodes into it with both passion and anger.

You have either heard of them or you haven’t, if you have you will either love them or loathe them, if you love them you will either get them or you won’t. That is the conclusion I have come to regarding The Sleaford Mods.

Sleaford Mods review of Bristol gig

I first picked up on this two piece band around five years ago when I heard the track Tied Up In Nottz. On my first listen I was not sure if it was good or bad or just indifferent , however, the more I heard it the more I liked it. The lyrics were being ranted over an electronic beat and somehow this combination was doing it for me.


In the last five years the Sleaford Mods have made appearances on the odd Jools Holland show and various media platforms but have managed to stay under the mainstream radar. It makes it quite surprising that the Eton Alive Tour is almost a sell out across the country. I am lucky enough to have a ticket to see them in the O2 Academy tonight in this sought after show.


I arrive in time to see the support act Liines ( yes, spelt with two I’s), an all female three piece from Manchester take to the stage to do their stuff. To me the band have a strong Brit Pop feel to their sound and are very reminiscent of Elastica or Garbage from that era. Their presence has the early arrivals attention and they set the mood for the night ahead. After an energising set the Liines bow out and disappear into the wings . It is very strange to see the road crew strip down the equipment and leave the stage completely bare. There is no back drop just an abyss.


All of a sudden the crowd start to swell at a frantic pace. In amongst the growing chaos a small cheer goes up as a tall slim figure wearing shorts, a hoodie and backpack walks across the stage. It is Andrew Fearn the musical maestro of the band, he removes a sticker covered lap top from his bag and promptly plugs it in and places it on a box. The only other item to join the computer is the solitary mic stand that has been pushed into place by one of the crew.


As the house system continues to pump out hardcore tunes the venue is turning into a sea of people. The never ending flow of hyped up beer drinking excited punters push and shove and steam roller in a desperate attempt to get on to the solidly gridlocked dance floor. I can honestly say that in all my years of visiting the O2 I have never seen it this full - almost to breaking point.


On come the Mods to a roar from the adrenalin fuelled crowd and away they go. Jason Williamson grabs the mic stand like the scruff of an opposite in a pub fight and verbally explodes into it with both passion and anger.


Formed in 2007 in Nottingham, the Sleaford Mods brought their unique electro punk sound and working class rants covering the underbelly of modern life in general from Polish off licences through to job centre visits. Add hard hitting lyrics being rapped in an East Midland dialect it makes up the distinct  sound you will either love or hate. There is no middle ground with this one.


As the songs flow out across the frenzied air they include Flipside, Kabab Spider, Stick In 5 And Go, the venue is now  bouncing and bursting at the seams . The brutal honesty of the words, the swearing and the fury have the ecstatic crowd in overdrive. There are no gimmicks , no back drop, no light show, their pure passion alone has captured the moment and they are not letting it go. TCR, BHS, Jolly F and Big Burt intensify the already white hot show. I have now moved to the back of the room just to get some air.


As the Mods leave the stage only Jason  could swear so poetically and sound so cool. In amongst the bodies, the sweat and the madness the boys return for an encore. Four numbers including Tied Up In Nottz and Jobseeker can safely say that the lads smashed it.


The Sleaford Mods deliver life as it is with no frills or prisoners. Like John Cooper Clarke or Shaun Ryder the words spat by Jason sound like they could come from anyone of us. Dropped over a sound that could have been orchestrated by The Streets I believe are the ingredients that appeal to those of us that get it.


I can not explain the format or how it works, it just does. Tonight was an experience I will not forget for a long long time.


Unbelievable 5/5

Sleaford Mods review of Bristol gig


Article by:

Mike Headington

Born and bred in Weston-super-Mare, Mike has played in bands over the last 30 years and has an avid interest in a wide range of music genres. With a passion for live music he spends endless nights watching all types of bands, both famous and not so famous. With a love of Bristol’s infamous venues and the thriving music scene he also follows the local football club in red with a passion. His mission statement is...Keep it real, keep it live and Keep on Rocking!!