Words & Photos by Greg Jacobs
April 9, 2017 – The Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
Sleaford Mods made quite a statement on this, their first trip to the States. They sold out every show up to and including tonight in Los Angeles. They are being described as a “hip-hop/punk band” and that’s hard to argue with. I’d add in “low-fi” to that description. It’s not that it’s under produced, but it’s minimalist punk-hop. The stage set up is simple and bare; a laptop computer sitting atop 3 plastic milk crates, presumably found in the alley behind the club, and a mic on a stand. That’s it. No banner, no instruments, no nothing. Black stage with (mostly) white lights furthered the minimalist effect.
Jason Williamson raps in a thick cockney accent (at least that’s what I would call it, my apologies if I am misidentifying his accent) over heavy, low-fi beats blasting from Andrew Fearn’s laptop. Neither are particularly active on stage, but there’s something compelling about them that I can’t quite put my finger on.
Williamson seems angry while he’s delivering his lyrics and determined to get his point across. He doesn’t say much between songs but he’s got some unique, understated foot shuffling dance moves. I guess you’d call them dance moves. He commands your attention with his stage presence not his antics.
Fearn is positioned behind his laptop with a beer can in one hand and the other hand in his pocket. He bobs his head with the beats and smiles at the crowd on occasion. When he’s called to duty, he simply touches one button on his laptop to start the next song then returns to his beer and head bobbing.
Sleaford Mods have been around since 2006 and have a new record out on Rough Trade/Beggars Banquet called English Tapas. Check it out.
The Urinals were in the middle slot tonight. They’ve been together since 1979 playing their brand of stripped down old school punk rock. I don’t mean this new-fangled formulaic, mass produced, punk rock we hear now days. I mean when punk rock was a broad definition of a movement and attitude that you couldn’t describe any other way. When things sounded different. An example being: Listen to The Adolescents’ Blue Record, TSOL’s Dance with Me and Dead Kennedy’s Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. These are all great punk rock records and they all sound completely different from each other, and none of them sound like The Urinals. Forcing myself to compare The Urinals with other bands, I hear Wire, Magazine and Minutemen influences.
Terminal A opened the show. Honestly, being a Sunday night, I was hoping for an early night and that Terminal A was the name of a DJ spinning tunes between bands. Terminal A is no DJ, they are a very energetic goth-punk-industrial duo with a singer and a guitar player, sharing the stage with a drum machine and programmed synthesizer. The singer recited heartbreak/political poetry between songs and both members spent far more time off the stage than on it. With vocals drenched in effects and the guitar creating a wall of distortion they are worth checking out. Just be aware, the singer will get right up in your face.