Sleaford Mods, Eagulls, John Cooper Clarke and Ought: A guide to the outspoken artists touring the UK this autumn
This article is from 2014.
Nick Herd sheepishly gives the floor to some outspoken types
They’re Nottingham’s gobbiest duo and one of the most noxious acts in the UK. Now, Sleaford Mods are bringing their punk grime back to Scotland in November with two headlining shows in Glasgow and Edinburgh and supporting slots for The Specials at the Barras. It’s been a pretty astronomical climb for these underground rabble rousers since last year, but considering the rapturous reception that their most recent (and finest) release, Divide and Exit, has received – along with a seriously relentless touring schedule – their ruffled and bruised chickens have come home to roost, and deservedly so.
The crossover appeal of Sleaford Mods has to come down to their stark earnestness and stripped-back approach which pulls the focus onto their litter-bin landslide of a vocalist Jason Williamson, a verbal dirty protest in the face of the establishment and drudgery of modern British working life. It’s safe to say the UK’s current social climate is somewhat repellent at present, so hearing someone smear the walls in the most anti-eloquent Alan Sillitoe-esque trash talk is, ironically, a proverbial breath of fresh air.
The video for ‘Tied Up in Nottz’ – probably the anti-summer anthem of 2014 – depicts beat master Andrew Fearn’s trademarked e-cig chonging and txting, whilst Williamson unleashes focus-group council carnage with half a mouthful of Polish lager. A steady bassline and looped drums lube up each jibe and cantankerous dig. This works even more so from the stage; for all their primitivism, the Mods have built up a loyal and varied base from road horsing their kitchen sink into a tightly honed and hilarious sucker punch. They can’t have existed at a different time or place other than now, so even if it’s by default, the Mods are increasingly more relevant. Go and see them, you [insert expletive of choice].
Broadcast, Glasgow, Wed 5 Nov; Barrowland, Glasgow, Thu 6 & Fri 7 Nov (supporting The Specials); Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Sat 8 Nov.
A ‘fun’ antidote to most of the UK’s guitar meh-ness, Eagulls are now armed with a more bony post-punk leaning from their eponymous LP. There’s a maturity and gothic tendency incurring on this material, heading down a Bauhaus / Killing Joke route and away from their Wipers nods of yesteryears. Lest we forget their troll-worthy letter to rich kid US bands at SXSW this year. Who’d have thought it, eh: wealthy white Americans playing in rock groups? By jove.
King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, Tue 21 Oct.
John Cooper Clarke
Salford’s bard will return once again, waxing sweary lyrical about Chickentown to Manc fetishists aplenty at the Queen’s Hall and ABC. He’s arguably the forebearer of Sleaford Mods who are often compared to him rather lazily by journalists, bloggers and beardy pseuds alike. And even though it seems that he’s always back like clockwork, it’s hard not to like JCC.
O2 ABC, Glasgow, Sun 26 Oct; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Thu 20 Nov.
Ought were formed in Montreal by four student ex-pats as a result of the mass student protests in Quebec that took place in 2012. Their assertive indie rock from the city's steadfast DIY and grassroots community in the Mile End district could be filed alongside Cap‘n Jazz and a young David Byrne, so pop along to the CCA and see what all the fuss is about.
CCA, Glasgow, Sun 16 Nov.