Sunday, 11 October 2015

Girl on a train: Sleaford Mods whilst the city never sleeps

I hadn't planned on being at this concert, gig, shindig - I was bought a ticket from the other half - a birthday treat as her birthday fell the very next day after it - late night outings and present opening mornings. She knows how much I love a rant - a rave - she know how much I love her - she lets me out - because this I guess this is what i'm about.

So it was with coughs and shakes that I made my way to the forum - to see 'em - to be with the mods again. To be honest - i was late to the key markets push - I hadn't listened as intently to this long player as much I should have. So with minimal plays in Zafira journeys I wasn't fully accustomed to the blast and rhetoric- the fucked off 'avin it - and downright funk of it. It was sitting there on the old itunes - not yet settling in the brain - but tonight I was going to see them live tonight.

Through phonecalls and garbled texts I let myself in to the venue without companions - zipped up parka and stares - grey hairs and semblance of attitude - with 4.80 a pint and a scant smile for the trainee bar staff.

I didn't want to waste the moments of big city life.

I hadn't been in the Town and Country club since god knows when - probably Ultra Vivid Scene or Buffalo Tom in the early 90s. Things still remained the same - but i wasn't bothered. 

Being there as the hall filled meant I got to witness York's finest (Iggy) pop - in the shape of Mark Wynn - all grapes and blouses and skinny black trousers. Not a Fall rip off ( even though he played Psychomafia )- a Formby punk warrior with tales of Claire ( if only she wore a name badge) from charity shops and doctored Bowie struts and grapes - 300 quid and we paid for the privilege - he felt so fucking modern - but reminded me of my youth - an absolute fucking trooper - wit and words and shapes and moves. 

Performance punk poetry. 

I wasn't expecting it - you know he basically danced - randomly recited poetry - ate grapes. It was good - but you know - I couldn't hear the words properly - it was hard to make out. (This is meant ironically - just go and see him - it's worth it) 

Steve Ignorant - heartfelt (like a moonlight shadow) all warrior folk and gesture and musical number - it wasn't getting me - but the guy's got pedigree - so you know - we'll see. Arch ranting over tinkling  - hand gestures and industrial language - because we matter - we are fucking human after all.

Before the wonder of Wynn - I had managed to have a brief chat with Andrew Fearn - all gentle and humble - not that I expected him to have gone all diva and not cared - after all we (the audience) were there for this bunch of cunts (Jason's observation). We talked of Nottingham - I asked why Beeston never gets a mention - mainly because I'd been a resident of Nottz (with a Z you...) and a part of that Beeston shuffle - apparently it's too posh - although I have witnessed the Sleaford Mods lyrics being played out on Beeston streets in real time - do you get me?  Anyway I left Andrew alone - he was with a couple who were telling him that the Mods music was right - for these times - right for right now.  I bet he gets that a lot these days.

And then at 9.30 - on came the Mods - straight up and no fuss - in your face and filling the space with fans and sweat - bile and gutteral soul searching about this nation's saving grace - it was ace. Jason and Andrew - prophetic proto punk poetry and rhythm delivered in bombast and bass - it was ace.  

It didn't seem as frenetic as last time - I think that might have been down to the fact I was ready for it - the first time was a fucking blast - this time I kind of knew what was coming. New songs peppered the set Bronx in a Six, Face to Faces, Giddy on the Ciggies, Arabia- Jason contorting and sweating - if he hadn't brought on his No.1 fan (an actually fan) then I think he may have lost all the fluid in his body. You get a workout from this band. A proper session - of self expression. As I said previously my friend - who was there (live) tonight -thinks they'll become all acceptable - used in adverts at some point. He may be right - this certainly felt like that step up - a big hall and playing to the balcony. I guess the bigger the venue the more likely you make sure it's a show. 

And it's always a good show. Let's be honest no else is doing this.

The bass is set to low - the crowd just wobble, wobble, wobble - united in the words of Williamson - crack headed garbage talk - inarticulate rage ranting - the mundane made magical in repetition and riotous commands. Whenever Williamson screams 'sack the manager' it sends the hairs on my neck soaring. There's something incredible in his ranting.

A modern day ranter - perhaps?

Now, if you look up the definition of a ranter from medieval times - you can see the straight up link to the Mods movement (if two people can be called a movement) Here it is: The Ranters were one of a number of nonconformist dissenting groups that emerged around the time of the English Commonwealth (1649–1660). They were largely common people, and there is plenty of evidence that the movement was widespread throughout England, though they were not organised and had no leader.

Do see what I mean?

What the Mods have done is wrap that discordant sound of modern living - that background fug - bass and (rowche) rumble - frustration and fuckery - into a set of songs that document both the past, present and the future. These repetitive bass thumpers - expertly handled from Fearn's fingers - allow laptops to connect with the oldest sound in the world - the voice.

This is modernism.

I'm getting older - and so are the mods - but the crowd is growing - young minds being opened by words from older guys. I can completely understand how Sleaford Mods came to exist - but every time I hear them - and in this case see them -I can't help marvel at the ingenuity of it all.  It's like they just came out of nowhere but perfectly capture - well - rupture the fabric of modern times. There's a wonderful line in 'Rupert Trousers' about Blur. They don't play it tonight. They don't need to get into those sort of fights - but they point a finger at the pomposity of pop life - they prick it and reveal it as the banal it actually is.

I hope this rise to super stardom doesn't diminish the wit and insight of Williamson or alter the relentless drive of Fearn's beats and bass and flickered melody.  I hope it doesn't come to an odd end.

I don't get in the mosh pit tonight - although I stand on the periphery.  I always did - and that's where the Mods are tonight - still on the outside looking in - or perhaps pissing in and causing a fuss.

And with that the show ends - tight - thumbs up and thank yous and I'm off to be a zombie and tweet ,tweet, tweet about it. It's what us London teds do.

So making my way home I arrive at Charing Cross. Sly fag outside the station. Suddenly approached. Blond hair and eyelashes. Off guard. A girl (well a woman) trying to find her way home - all lost and confused - taxi ready but just pissed up and unsure - she was working for Goldman Sachs- wedding in April - man in Munich - pissed up beer festivals and lost connections  - it gets like that - she drinks at Somerset house whilst we listened to rants and the diatribe of Williamson and Fearn - in the same city - different dreams and all that - all on the same train  - same place but thinking differently.

I didn't tell I'd just been in a room with the invective and froth from two top fellas. I didn't tell her that our worlds were probably quite different.  I didn't tell her that the man is a wanker - and that it don't get much better. She can find all that out for herself. 

She can find that all out when she stumbles across Sleaford Mods on the radio. 

It's going to happen soon.