Two scowling men from the Nottingham area, making aggro punk poetry that sounds like the bastard child of John Cooper Clarke’s Beasley Street grown up on hard knocks, rave culture and the Wu-Tang Clan. Jason Williamson is the voice: a big man with an angry face, used to be one of that “door-swings-open, swagger-to-the-bar-crew” but now grown older and wiser. His delivery is venomous, confrontational, but often funny and delighting in twists of language: eyeballing the “scaly-faced booze pricks”, the geezers with their “concrete dagger swaggers”, and saving special contempt for “the cunt with the gut and the Buzz Lightyear haircut, calling all the workers plebs”.
Williamson was born in Grantham in Lincolnshire, and lived in London and San Francisco, bouncing through a process of jobs and bands, before despair set in and he found his way back to the East Midlands. There, he founded Sleaford Mods, which began as a solo project but has now expanded to a duo, with co-conspirator Andrew Fearn handling bass guitar and beats.
Sleaford Mods released five albums on Nottingham label Deadly Beefburger before getting the attention of Steve Underwood of UK label Harbinger Sound. Harbinger is best known as a noise and industrial label, releasing new and archive material from the likes of Ramleh, Smegma and Hair Police. But Underwood heard something in Sleaford Mods’ attitude that he liked. Hence Austerity Dogs, a vinyl collection of new and old tracks of an appropriately austere stripe – the soul loops of some of the early material stripped away, replaced by a flinty bedrock of lurking bass guitar and lo-rent drum machine.
For Williamson, Sleaford Mods is a mission, an assault on a music culture that celebrates the clichéd and banal. “Expression has to be more than a skinny looker with a fucking Les Paul, or some careerist band who had their ups and downs but finally took off, blah blah. You go to work, come home, read something, and its usually riddled with images like that. That Jaimie bloke from The Kills, bashing his guitar onstage – it’s an image that’s been placed before you over and over. ‘Elegantly wasted’. High-fashion dogshit. So obvious.” - Fact Magazine
Support from Glasgow’s reggae inspired experimental garble duo Confidential Waist Soundsystem and Edinburgh noise-drone harshness from Dead Wood.
£5 entry, pay on the door.
7.30pm, 14th December.
The Banshee Labyrinth, Niddry Street.