Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Live Shows: Sleaford Mods and Muzzins, Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA 4/7/23

Sleaford Mods are one of those bands I just never thought I'd get to see live. I've been a fan for years, but they never seemed to be coming through Boston the rare times they came to the US. Finally, they were set to play The Sinclair in 2020, but... you know. Then they came last spring, and I ended up being able to get in last minute. I assumed that would probably be it for quite a while, but they ended up coming through again this past Friday, so obviously I needed to go.

One thing that surprised me when I saw Sleaford Mods at The Sinclair was how mellow the crowd was. After watching countless videos of live sets on YouTube, I expected a fairly rowdy crowd. The Paradise's crowd seemed even more reserved, and was more the PBR sipping, chin stroking crowd. To be fair, the energy coming off the stage didn't seem to be what I expected, either, so I started preparing for a disappointing evening.

About halfway through the setlist, the duo broke out the hit song "Mork n Mindy," and there finally seemed to be a bit more life to the show. Once again, not sure if it was Sleaford Mods, the crowd, or both, but finally the night seemed to step up a gear or two. Everyone seemed to get more into it after that, and a little dancing or at least bopping seemed to take over the crowd. This just built through songs like "TCR" and "Tory Kong." The final two songs of the night broke the crowd out into a frenzy and a near mosh pit, but how can you go wrong with the one-two punch of "Jobseeker" and "Tweet Tweet Tweet?"

Two of my favorite parts of the Sleaford Mods live shows occurred again Friday night. Andrew Fearn doesn't have much to do onstage, except press play on his laptop, so he dances throughout the entire set. The man energetically danced for ninety minutes, which is about eighty nine more than I could at his rate. Vocalist Jason Williamson didn't get very chatty during the show, but he did make sure to thank guest vocalists such as Perry Ferrell during the show, even if they were just recorded.

Muzzins opened the show, and I was a bit nervous for them. While I'm a huge fan of both bands, I could see Sleaford Mods fans being perplexed by the bizarre funk/electronic/hip hop/punk/jazz hybrid sound. And when they started off that evening's pre-show ritual, that is definitely what happened. I heard a few snarky remarks from the people behind me. But, the more the show went on, the more the crowd got it. By Muzzins' second song, even the snarky remarkers were getting into it, and by the end of their set, virtually everyone was bopping along. Muzzins are a cult band, but their charm and uniqueness can suck the most skeptical music fan in. Sure, a song with the lyrics "Smoke this and listen to jazz" helps, but the rest is just them. This was the fourth time I've seen Muzzins, and each set is completely unique from the others. The Paradise show was seeing a band completely discover themselves and the power they can have.

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