Music review: Sleaford Mods, Barrowland, Glasgow

They may have a fancy lightshow these days, but otherwise the success of Sleaford Mods’ latest album hasn’t changed them much, writes David Pollock

Sleaford Mods
Sleaford Mods

Sleaford Mods, Barrowland, Glasgow ****

"Who wants a swimming pool in their bathroom?" barked Sleaford Mods' commander-in-chief Jason Williamson, glowering at his audience with a sly grin. "Nobody! Who wants to go to the moon? No **** does!" His crowd had just finished chanting the chorus of B.H.S. back at him ("we're going down like B.H.S.!"), and he was in a mood to laugh at the ostentatious super-rich.

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The ongoing beauty of Sleaford Mods is in their stoic refusal to buy into the idea that, just because their fame has increased with the recent hit album Spare Ribs, they should grow any more elaborate than they already are. Their lightshow has improved – it now resembles the harsh, pulsing neon of an early-90s nightclub – but the duo show no signs of wanting to embellish their act any further.

Andrew Fearn jabbed at his drum machine, switching between, say, the rudimentary thud of Face to Faces and the beyond minimal hardcore rhythm of Jolly F***er, then he sat back into a mooching dance groove reminiscent of a teenager waiting for the cider to kick in at his auntie's wedding. Alongside him Williamson, the most misanthropically charismatic man in British rock and spiritual heir to the Fall's Mark E Smith, preached in a gravelly blend of rap and song.

He called out those who believe an accent is the measure of a person on Elocution ("I wish I had the time to be a wanker just like you"), mourned the inability of damaged young men to speak in anything but violence on Discourse and engaged the crowd in a fierce bounce on the establishment-kicking Jobseeker. Amid it all, he ceded the soulful melody of Mork n Mindy to support act Billy Nomates and owned an unexpected cover of Yazoo's Don't Go.

Large-scale halls don't suit Sleaford Mods as much as small and sweaty clubs (not even this great old venue) and it seemed the five hundred or-so people packed at the front were having a better night than anyone else. Still, most would have gone home elated and empowered.

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