Sleaford Mods: Old Blue Last, London – live review

Sleaford Mods 

Old Blue Last, London

October 30th 2013

Nottinghman’s Sleaford Mods, a punk band whose “About” page on Facebook simply states “even the new bands are shit”, played a show in London last week. Louder Than War’s Keith Goldhanger looked on – then wrote the following review for us.

Sleaford Mods vocalist Tarquin Haberdashery-Smythe is no Shaun Ryder ok?

Or John Cooper Clarke.

Or Jimmy Fuckin’ Pursey.

Or Mike Skinner or Phil Fuckin’ Daniels goin’ “PARKLIFEPARKLIFEPARKLIFEPARKLIFE!!” to thousands of spotty teenagers.

Or Scroobius Pip, ‘enry Rollins, ‘enry Cooper or DCI Burnside from The Bill.

‘Es no Ray Winstone either, or any of those geezers (like my mate Lewis) that were (maybe still are) in Eastenders and see themselves as perhaps “bein’ a bit tasty”.

And he definately isn’t like Danny Fakin’ soddin’ Dyer who see’s ‘imself ….gawd knows what ‘e finks when ‘e looks at ‘imself in the mirror every morning….

He’s no Tarquin Haberdashery-Smythe either, that was me being an arse. His real name is Jason Williamson.

Jason Williamson looks like the bastard that no one would ever call a bastard (to his face) and a bloke who no one would even suggest looks like a bastard even in the company of a mate in fear of retribution (which is Proof if maybe proof was ever needed that someone around here at the end of a keyboard certainly ‘asn’t got a scooby what ‘es doin’ and doesn’t really respect his kneecaps enough).

He’s the bloke who would be the centre of attention in any dodgy pub, never mind in a pub full of paying punters (in a not at all Dodgy pub) watching him shout at us from behind the mike.

Shouting…not in an oi! oi! “greatest Cockney rip off” kindaway way or a dodgy punk rock-fed up working in a garage-kinda way, but shouting as in talking as in an …. I’m-really fuckin’ frustrated and have a lot to say regardless of whether you get what i’m saying and anyway who gonna fuckin’ argue? … type of shouting.

Are you all still with me?


Sleaford Mods singer rants, swears and nods agreeably to the music he’s ranting over and if anyone in this audience dares to mutter a tiny word out of place, the music stops, he’ll glance over menacingly and mutter something like “wot?” …. then let it go and carry on with the show, occasionally eyeing the direction for the next fifteen minutes towards the spot where the voice of discontent may or may not have come from.

He looks like the wrong man you’d notice whilst sitting in the wrong pub one evening who chats to his mate behind clenched knuckles whilst occasionally avoiding eye contact to glance at the nervous bloke in the corner.

He drinks water.

Never trust a man that drinks water whilst his mates are downing pints…

His partner on stage is Andrew Fearn and he stands behind a laptop, hits the ON button and then stands there chain smoking one of those electronic cigarettes that all of a sudden for the first time since electronic cigarettes were invented look cool. He downs three or four pints, smiles like he’s having the time of his life, occasionally gives the front row the thumbs up and could have been an extra in Breaking bad.

Together, they look like a couple of blokes who went from Infant school to Borstal to a long-term-with-early-release-for-good-behavior-establishments for crimes they didn’t commit.

They’re probably very well mannered in front of their mothers.

And they look like people you aint gonna fuck wiv…

Once or twice during the gig and after a casual conversation, again behind the singers fist Andrew Fearn will stretch down and hit the stop button.

Someone has said something….


“Fuck off”


…any conversation, just a one way conversation with the rest of us just watching not conversing ends there and then.

Every tune a gem.

Every one of us loving what we’re witnessing.

He intoduces the final tune and before we can finish groaning he’s berating us cos in his opinion we’ve ” ‘ad a fukin’ good deal this evening”

…and he probably told us to fuck off again before disappearing himself, probably to a quiet pub away from all of us … and munch away on a packet of cheese and onion until his mates pick him up to take him home.

He swears more than I do. I’m getting worse now thanks to the new single and opening tune of the set “Jolly Fucker’ out any day now on 7” vinyl on Fourth Dimension records.


Other songs have barking dogs sampled over the beats as well as out of time beats over the beats that are in time and the odd sound of a Donkey. We think he’s moaning about the cost of a “McFlurry” at some point and considering or mentioning “‘aving a swing at someone” and other snippets of prose that sound like a bloke taking charge in a room full of people who need telling … but we can’t make out or remember precisely everything he’s saying.

Which is ok really ‘cos some of us … most of us if not all of us, will be gleefully happy to stand in front of this duo again one day and if you want a description of what to expect … then Sleaford Mods remind some of us of the great Snivelling Shits (Look for Arthur comics 1977 tune “isgodaman”) and are a mash up of Ryder, Cooper Clarke, Pursey, Skinner Le sac, Pip and DCI Burnside from The Bill … We leave the venue, building in tact, not a copper in sight, wondering why it’s taken this long to find them…

They’ve probably just been keeping themselves to themselves…

They’re probably the best punk rock band in the world and you are probably gonna fuckin’ luv em.


They’ve got loads of gear to sell you (not that kind)… Product guv’… musical product … blimey … deep breath …

  • Sleaford Mods (album) Deadlybeefburger records 2007
  • The Mekon (album) deadlybeefburger records 2007
  • Originator (album) deadlybeefburger records 2008
  • S.P.E.C.T.R.E (album) deadlybeefburger records 2010
  • Wank (album) deadlybeefburger records 2012
  • Austerity Dogs (album) Harbinger Sound 2103

They have two 7″ releases due for release on Fourth Dimension records (above) and the Kraak Label with a third release also in the pipeline with a German label

Get yr dosh out and get off ye arse and check this duo out.

Sleaford Mods can be found on Facebook, Bandcamp and Twitter.

All words by Keith Goldhanger. More work by Keith on Louder Than War can be found here. He’s also on SoundCloud here, Facebook here and tweets as @HideousWheeelInv.

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Keith Goldhanger -- Spent the '90s as a frontman with London noise merchants HEADBUTT - spent the '80s in 'Peel favourites' BASTARD KESTREL. Spent a few years mashing up tunes and remixing bands as HIDEOUS WHEEL INVENTION. Is often out and about getting in the way of things and bumping his head on low ceilings - Will give your band the time of day but will dislike any band that balances full pints of alcohol on the top of guitar amps (Not keen on lead singers that wear hats either).


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