I’ve never done this before, but I got a few things wrong in my review of Sleaford Mods/Urinals/Terminal A and it was bugging me. I’m sure the slew of negative comments I got on the New Noise website and on the Sleaford Mods facebook page helped to contribute to my discomfort … While I DID do some minimal research before writing my review last week, I did more this time.
I don’t plan on publishing this on the Sleaford Mods facebook page in an attempt to get a respite, nor do I plan on posting it to The Urinals page, whom I inferred were influenced by the Minutemen when the Minutemen actually covered one of their songs and were influenced by them …
I wrote this one for myself. It’s still not great and I still DO NOT claim to be a writer. I try to be a photographer and the avenues that publish my photos (New Noise Magazine, The Vinyl District, others) ask me to submit reviews with the photos. Reviews “get more clicks” and “take up less bandwidth” than photo essays alone.
So, I’m practicing. I actually downloaded a couple articles on “How To Write a Good Concert Review.” But I haven’t read them yet, I swear.
So here’s my second attempt at reviewing Sleaford Mods, The Urinals, Terminal A at The Echoplex on April 9, 2017. I did not look back at the old review at all, until I cut a pasted the Terminal A portion into the new one. They seem to be the only thing I got right in the first try, so why f*ck with it.
Although Sleaford Mods started in 2007 (with current members since 2012), they had never played in Los Angeles before tonight, April 9, 2017 and a sold old-Echoplex-crowd-was there to greet them.
This is the first show in a long time that I was actually worried about my camera gear getting damaged. The crowd was loud and fluid and as the set progressed, so did the crowd surging toward the front of the stage, where I was posted up all night. The crowd was singing along, careening into each other and having a great time. This was the most punk rock show I’ve been to in a long time and it felt great.
Sleaford Mods are described as a punk rock, hip hop duo and that’s hard to argue with … There’s definitely a low-fi element to the music and an urgency in Jason Williamson’s vocals and lyrics that feels punk rock. He spits his lyrics with conviction in a thick East Midlands/Nottingham accent. The beats blasting from Andrew Fearn’s lap top are rooted in hip-hop and have a low-fi, minimalist tone. Their stripped-down stage (just 3 milk crates, a lap top and a microphone) and lighting (mostly white) further promotes the punk rock, low-fi image.
They played an hour-long set and included almost every song I hoped to hear like “Army-Nights,” “TCR,” “Snout” and “Time Sands.” “Job-Seeker” was one of the 3 encore songs and got the biggest reaction of the night … “Donkey” was the only song missing from the set list that I wanted to hear.
Just before the Sleaford Mods, The Urinals played. The Urinals are a serious piece of LA punk rock history. Formed in 1978 in a UCLA dorm (according to Wikipedia) they started as a 5 piece and quickly streamlined down to their current configuration as a trio. In various incarnations and time periods, The Urinals were known as 100 Flowers and The Chairs of Perception. They are credited with influencing the likes of Minutemen, who covered their song “Ack, Ack, Ack, (Ack),” Yo La Tengo, Gun Club and other amazing bands. They played with Black Flag, The Last, The Go-Gos and many other early LA bands through the late 70’s and early ‘80’s.
Tonight, they played a great mix of old favorites and songs off their new record. They are a stripped down, almost minimal, punk rock band. Punk rock in the vein of Wire, Minutemen or Magazine, not the formulaic music posing as punk rock now days.
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 beware, that singer will get right up in your face.