Sleaford Mods: O2 Academy, Liverpool

Del Pike finds a reinvigorated Sleaford Mods and he thoroughly approves.

The Mods return to the Academy after three years and there are changes.

The crowd remain as faithful as ever but the band have developed into a somewhat different beast.

Almost a year has passed since Spare Ribs revealed a more accessible side to the band, with guest vocals from Amy Taylor and Billy Nomates, and an elevated chorus quota to ensure guaranteed sing-a-longs.

They’ve not lost their edge at all, but the as my vision was blocked by a six foot student in a jockey outfit, going bonkers to only the newer tracks, its clear the fan base has widened.

In an effort to please everyone the pattern of the set ping pongs between Spare Ribs tracks and older classics. An Unexpected low-key start with Fishcakes, delivered against green lit butchers curtain’s suggests a more surly evening than usual, but its not long before the mood is elevated with Shortcummings, their hate anthem to Day-trip Dominic.

Williamson and Fearne clearly have a fondness for Liverpool and keep reminding us of that, along with regular checks of “Are you still enjoying it?

Andrew Fearne, he of the laptop and infectious bleeps has traded in his rocking with a beer bottle stance for full on dancing which raises the atmosphere a fair bit. Not quite Bez but give him time.

The surprise of the night was an unexpected cover version, didn’t see that coming – Yazoo’s Don’t Go. It works too, God knows how but it does.

Guest vocals on Nudge It and Mork and Mindy are provided by a backing track and that works also.

The new album tracks are brilliant without doubt, particularly Nudge It and Elocution but for most in the room the closing double whammy of Jobseeker and Tweet Tweet Tweet bring the most satisfaction.

Despite the unwelcome presence of a six foot horse jockey, gigs don’t really get much better than this. Freaky dancing and political standing meet poetic ranting.

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