Broken Britain, austerity, class war masquerading as Government policy, savage benefit cuts for those who need it most, shit jobs, shit pay, shit housing available at extortionate prices, all these things spring to mind when Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn touch down and play in your town.
Their profile has steadily grown over the last few years, helped by their last three albums, Austerity Dogs in 2013, Divide And Exit in 2014 and Key Markets this year, together with relentless touring and acerbic missives aimed at the complacency of musicians currently infesting the charts with nothing of any importance whatsoever.
It’s a full crowd here at the Old Market and it’s fitting the band are playing in the People’s Republic Of Brighton And Hove, a left-wing beacon of hope surrounded by a sea of self-serving Tory mediocrity.
The set is energetic and frenetic, Williamson scratching his head incessantly as he sweats and shuffles from side to side. He stands sideways on to the microphone to deliver his short, sharp bursts of life in Britain in the 21st Century. Channelling the spirit of The Specials, John Cooper Clarke, Mike Skinner, Crass and the Wu-tang Clan and anyone else with the balls to tell it like it actually is. Williamson jokes about their lack of stagecraft as he shows us the electric fan they bought on the advice of a booking agent. “It’s got four settings” he beams as he switches it on. Andrew Fearn’s stark, intense and hyperactive beats perfectly complement the snarled delivery of the lyrics, and he gleefully bops around and mouths the words to each song.
All the songs are great, a cracking mixture of witty lyrics and biting social commentary. “Jobseeker” about Jason’s time working at a cold store just outside Grantham, Lincolnshire goes down particularly well but “Tarantula Deadly Cargo”, “The Wage Don’t Fit”, “Jolly Fucker” and “Tweet, Tweet, Tweet” all get huge responses.
One of the most vital bands in the UK today, unless you’re a Tory voter.