Saturday, 10 October 2015

The Sleaford Mods Experience.

So last night I went to my first gig since coming to Nottingham and let's just say it was an experience.

I've seen the Sleaford Mods numerous times before thanks to a brief, long-forgotten romance between my aunty and the lead singer resulting, twenty years later, in free tickets and backstage passes for me. Hey, I'm not complaining. But no matter how many times I see them, I'm never quite prepared for one of their gigs or what my dad has named 'The Sleaford Mods Experience'

The first time I saw them was at the Brudenell in Leeds, before they'd reached the dizzying heights of stardom they face today. (That may be an exaggeration... None of my flatmates had ever heard of them and were less than impressed by my so called 'claim to fame'.) To me it seemed to be just a room half full of angry middle-aged men. And that's not to take away from the gig, I loved it, and the music was amazing- even Iggy Pop's a fan. But after previously seeing the duo in small, dark working mens' clubs (resulting in my fur jacket taking numerous trips to the dry cleaners to try and get the beer/piss out of it) I wasn't prepared for the scale of their homecoming gig at Rock City.

Rock City can hold 2450 people. And the gig was sold out. The crowd sang along to every song, screaming the angry lyrics back at Williamson- which took me by surprise to be honest because I'm not sure when they would learn the words to these songs. If you've not heard them before, they're not exactly easy listening, probably not music you'd listen to in the car. Maybe they'd A-Z lyricsed them??

But for me one of the best things about going to a Sleaford Mods gig is not just the band, but the crowd. The people who are there to watch the gig. Most are over the age of 40 and still clinging to the identity they adopted in their youth. A Seaford Mods gig is like a nature documentary for seemingly forgotten social tribes. Here you can see the mods in their natural habitat, co-existing and even interacting with skinheads, punks and rockers.

There's something even more special about seeing an older punk; their clothes and hair unchanged from their youth despite their skin now touched by life. For me it's an inspiring reminder of how music and clothes have no age limit- who ever said you have to start wearing beige when you hit 40?? The other amazing thing to witness at the gig is how these tribes now coexist perfectly, the rivalries of their youth now long forgotten and replaced by a maturity and a mutual respect for someone similarly as passionate about music and fashion.

Every time I go to a gig like this I'm in awe of these tribes, and often come home contemplating shaving my head or growing a mohawk. I'm jealous of all of it, my generation feels lacking in real revolutionary social tribes like those that flourished in the 20th century. But I'm not sure how much that would help my efforts to find a man... So I'll leave it for now... Or at least until I next go to a gig.

Part of a great documentary commissioned by Fred Perry on youth subcultures


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