The Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 938 – Sunday 30th April to Saturday 6th May 2017
Hello, and welcome to this May Bank Holiday Weekend edition of the MIS Online newsletter.
Are you one of the many Madness fans booked in to go to this year’s House of Fun Weekender in Minehead this November? If so, you may be interested to learn that on Friday the fancy dress theme was revealed.
This year, the theme is “Madheads go to the Movies”. So, get your thinking caps on and start devising those outfits. You’ve got a fair few months to come up with a costume, so take your time.
While the fancy dress theme was announced, many fans leapt on to the Weekender Facebook Group to complain that if you hadn’t yet purchased tickets, unless you wanted to share a chalet with a group of people you’d be looking at spending £870 upwards per couple!
While the remaining rooms are expensive, it does show that if you plan to attend a Madness Weekender you need to get booked-up as soon as tickets go on sale if you wish to make the biggest savings.
Checking the Butlins web site we can see that most of the remaining apartments have two double bedrooms, so if two couples or four individuals are willing to share you can still attend the event at a fairly reasonable price.
Moving on to this week’s issue, and the majority of the content is taken up with two fantastic fan write-ups from Geof Lamb and Michael Gillis, who were lucky enough to catch the band and Suggs’ One Man Show during the recent Australian stint.
Along with that we have the usual rundown of forthcoming gigs in “Showtimes”, items you may wish to spend your pennies on in “Buy It”, and our 5, 10 and 15 year lookback in “I Remember Way Back When”.
Sit back and enjoy the read!
See below for all forthcoming Madness and Madness related gigs and events. If there’s something we’ve missed off or you feel should be added then please let us know.
Friday 19th – Wirral Live, Tranmere Rovers stadium, Birkenhead
Sunday 28th – Bearded Theory Spring Gathering, (Pallet stage headline), Derbyshire
June 2017 – The Cornish Leg
Friday 16th – Eden Sessions, Eden Project, St. Austell, Cornwall ** SOLD OUT **
Sunday 2nd July – Spiritland Talks – Madness Q & A ** SOLD OUT **
Sunday 9th July – Bospop, Weert, Netherlands
Saturday 29th July, Camp Bestival – Headliners
Saturday 5th – Lytham Festival, Lancashire
Saturday 12th – Kent County Showground
Friday 18th – Hardwick Hall
Saturday 19th – V Festival, Hylands Park
Sunday 20th – V Festival, Weston Park
Friday 25th – Portsmouth – Victorious Festival Opening Party
Sunday 27th – The Big Feastival, Alex James’ Farm – Headliners. More info at:
Monday 28th – House of Common, Clapham ** Tickets now on sale! ** More info here: http://www.madness.co.uk/houseofcommon/
1st-3rd Electric Picnic, Ireland ** Sold out Festival**
17th – 20th November – The House of Fun Weekender – Minehead
Friday 23rd June – Mill Hill Festival
Saturday 22nd July – The 100 Club. Featuring Lee Thompson with support from The Skapones and MIS DJs
Near Jazz Experience
June 8th – Kino Teatr, St Leonard’s, East Sussex. Supporting Blurt.
** Rescheduled **
Voice of the Beehive
Saturday October 7th, Indie Daze. All Dayer from 1pm. Kentish Town Forum. NW5 London
Madness – New Album – You Can’t Touch Us Now
** Out Now! **
16 Track CD, 12 Track Vinyl
Don’t Let Them Catch You Crying – Remixes
Three new dub remixes of the track “Don’t Let Them Catch You Crying”, from the current album, are now available.
Leo Zero, the London based remixer and producer, has created the new mixes. You can buy them from Madness artist pages on iTunes and Amazon, and many other music sites. They can also be streamed through Spotify.
The mixes are the “Leo Zero remix” and his “Tufnel Parkas” mix, available both as a dub and full instrumental versions.
The former samples “Rocksteady beat” from the start of The Prince before riffing on the title song. The latter mixes make atmospheric use of the backing vocal stems and there is much looping of the guitar stabs on the tracks.
It’s perhaps fitting that Leo Zero has previously worked with Bryan Ferry, as this particular Madness track from the Can’t Touch us now LP is the most dance music based track from the latest batch of Madness and so suited to elongated 12″ length instrumental musings. Certainly more so than some others. Even if these remixes won’t dazzle the general fan, they are a nice experiment that highlight in stripped down parts, some of the elements that go towards the finished Madness song on the album.
We feel a dubplate coming on.
Jonathan Young. Our thanks also go to Mark Doherty for a heads-up.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
Following Your Dreams is all Very Well
There is a kind of Jamaican music called ska, that I like very much indeed. I first encountered it in the late 1970s courtesy of my home-town band the Specials, and a nutty boy band from London called Madness.
I have been lucky enough to see both bands in the last month, and both were brilliant. I realised that ska is such an inclusive music because even people like me, who are about as musical as a budgie farting on a sheet of tin, can dance along. For three hours I wanted to be Suggs, the lead singer of Madness. I was Suggs! It was as I was walking out of the Hordern Pavilion that it dawned on me that my Fez was now out of place.
LIVE AND INTENSIFIED
Sydney Gig – The Ultimate Concert
Having waited for 33 years to see them, I purposely listened to no Madness since mid-February. I was aware of the Hong Kong and Perth set lists so had an inkling of what to anticipate. However, what I wasn’t prepared for was the nuances of what makes for being in the perfect band. I don’t mean this as a rose-spectacled fan but more as someone who’s never seen a music performance kick off with a climax and then grow from there.
Mike was on first, followed by Woody, Lee, Suggs, Bedders, & Chris. No fanfare; no intro; no greeting; an immediate beginning with ‘You Can’t Touch Us Now’. ‘Embarrassment’ upped the ante & from there, it was no holds barred. What was brilliant was the chance to really see almost 40 years of musicianship, humour, and friendship intertwined. That has to be like winning the lottery; all 6 really got the giggles with each other at times. Bedders almost lost his place in the middle of ‘Good Times’ when Lee grabbed his bum.
So many folk write about the legacy of the band; of its Englishness; of its history. I rarely read of just how good the band is as musicians. I’ve seen commentary about the lyrics (+ continual comparisons with The Kinks) along with Barzo’s musical prowess, but together they make a phenomenal BAND. Lee and Chris beautifully bookend Suggs in many ways; the tone of the guitar sits really well with Suggs’ voice while Lee is very confident when singing the backing vocals. His saxophone is often a counter melody to the lead vocal; wonderful weaving in & out. Suggs never sang an off-note; his timing was perfect. He was happily taken aback during a chat with the audience from Chris when out of the blue Chris asked us ‘Isn’t Suggs the best front man ever?’ A lovely moment when the audience roared in agreement.
The engine room is the triumvirate of Woody, Barzo, & Bedders…especially Woody. I don’t know if Madness made Woody or Woody made Madness, but they’d be lost without his style in the same way that the Stones couldn’t function without Charlie. I also smile at how he shares the same initials as his dw brand/model of drum kit. Barzo is a powerhouse to behold; head down & elbows up…he made ‘Yesterday’s Men’ his own which is so ironic when considering he never played on the record. He seemed to love space in songs such as ‘Herbert’ and ‘NW5’; a pleasure to hear him play in his crushed sapphire velvet suit. Mike took a few moments to tell the audience that “The wife and I looked at maybe buying a flat here in Sydney, you know; yeah…we found a nice one, yeah, and Suggs came along this morning and looked at it too, you know, and you know, the price had been dropped to $8,000,000. Now, you know, London real estate prices can be really stupid, yeah, but you Sydney people are fucking barmy if you pay that sort of quid for a flat.” The applause didn’t die down for 3 minutes.
And then there’s Bedders…a masterclass for me; pure & simple. That bloke climbs inside those tunes, often staring into the middle distance at the floor or stomping a little choreography alongside Suggs. ‘Grey Day’ & ‘The Sun & The Rain’ were 2 of the first 3 songs I learnt on the bass; to hear them live 7 metres in front of me was quite overwhelming. However, ‘Cardiac Arrest’, ‘Tomorrow’s Just Another Day’, ‘You Are My Everything’, ‘House of Fun’, and ‘Baggy Trousers’ alone were astonishing as those bass lines are musical elastic that stretches/bends those songs into place (listen to the bass during the Wurlitzer organ solo during ‘House of Fun’; unbelievable. Nobody does that). Bedders even bends the strings of his electric bass during ‘Herbert’ to simulate the tone of the recorded double bass. Clever sod.
All of this was summed up by the unexpected surprise of ‘Blackbird.’ I haven’t enjoyed this song quite as much as many of the others on the new album, but the live rendition was breath taking. Bedders stood in front of the bass drum and kept a close eye on Barzo; Chris and Lee were behind Suggs, and Suggs absolutely flew. The arrangement and those chords are soooo tricky yet the band were so tight in bringing the atmosphere of the lyrics to life; spine tingling throughout yet they make it look effortless.
If there was a slight decrease in energy, it was ‘Wings of A Dove’ I would have been happier to hear other classics such as ‘Shut Up’ or ‘Lovestruck’. Suggs let the audience carry the final chorus completely; a Carl-dominated song that was well-played, but…it was hard to imagine what it would’ve been like had Carl been there as the original 6 were firing very well on all cylinders. I think that Lee in particular is enjoying the extra space. Credit has to be given in spades to the 3 piece brass section and to the percussionist. They played so well but never detracted from the focus on the band. The lighting crew were spot on as well; the lights were very creative (i.e. Granny Apple green and Red Delicious ruby throughout ‘Mr. Apples’. In fact, when you next hear ABBA’s song ‘S.O.S.’, take a listen to the 2nd half of the choruses which sing ‘When you’re gone/how can I/even try/to go on?’ Those chords are identical to those played in the verses of ‘Mr. Apples’).
As a bass player Bedders has long been my hero and source of inspiration. He played a pair of early 1960s Fender Precision bass guitars on everything up to 1986 and then again from ‘Wonderful’ through to ‘Folgate.’ Since returning to the band post Oui Oui, he’s often used Fender Jazz basses (thinner neck with slightly different electronics.). Bedders’ 2 Precision basses (one black; the other red) are valuable bit of kit, both worth around £6,000 each (& that’s without the history associated with all the recordings made with them).
Chris encouraged the crowd to mantra the intro to ‘One Step Beyond.’ I have never witnessed such an upheaval of an already high energy go into overdrive as an audience member with this song followed by ‘House of Fun.’ The band was on the final stages of their home run and couldn’t do wrong if they wanted to. They all departed following an exquisite ‘It Must Be Love’ although a lovely moment was savoured when Woody and Bedders bowed to us in unison & received an ovation in return. A 3 song encore saw ‘Night Boat’ being overrun in the final chorus by a horde of people we didn’t know but a merry time was had by all as Lee traded solos with each brass player which made the song last for something like 8 minutes. A poignant farewell amidst the onstage crowd was that I could see each band member depart – except Bedders, the consummate professional who didn’t draw attention to himself by slipping quietly off the stage.
I haven’t seen an audience depart a venue in such a relaxed and happy mood before. There was a daft tart who complained about hearing the new songs(!) along with an Ocker who said to an Englishman that he’d poke his eyes out and piss in the sockets if the Englishman didn’t pull his head in, but it was a jolly collective who floated into the night air. I walked 3 kms back to the train station, took the train back to where I was staying, walked a kilometre to the hotel, and was buzzing from the concert much that sleep didn’t arrive until 4.
I perused a bookshop at the Sydney airport prior to flying home, and bought a magazine featuring an interview with one Graham McPherson. The headline was a quote: ‘An English institution? I don’t know what the fuck that means.’ He’s right on the money, too. Madness is beyond any label such as that.
Suggs Live in Melbourne
Monday was a big Night in Melbourne Town. On the back of the International Comedy Festival we were being granted an opportunity to See Suggs doing his Solo show.
I was very keen to see this as I had read so much about it and it seemed that we would be treated to something special. We Were.
On a personal note, I attended the show with my oldest friend Aaron. We have known each other since we were 14, grew up on Madness records and in the back suburbs of Melbourne would spend time walking the streets looking for any form of entertainment all the while quoting lines from The Madness Film, Take it or Leave It. Now here we were in Central Melbourne where it seemed, people had finally caught up with us and were Heading to the show to see Suggs. We popped in for the obligatory Pre Show drink at The Elephant and Wheelbarrow (where one Lee Thompson had a pint on the Last Madness Tour) and made our way down Exhibition St to the Comedy Theatre. Both of us were curious as to what types of people might be there. Naturally you would have your Madness fans and of course your ex pats and this was certainly true but it seemed that we were also in the company of Australian Dandies and Casual Theatre goers. You could say it was a Healthy mixed Crowd.
Most of you readers will have seen the show so I don’t really want to focus on content specifically. In saying this It was a very Moving experience for both myself and my long standing friend. Suggs talking about his formative years in many ways reflected our own lives and experiences, although in his case he was gliding through the shadows of inner London was as we were trying to find meaning in after dark local Suburban Primary schools. Baggy Trousers indeed. What struck me about the show was also how well the crowd as a whole responded to it. They laughed when Suggs theatrically paraded the stage and joked, They Sang along when Deano (a very talented musician) hit the keys in order to propel the tunes and they listened as Suggs talked about the very personal elements of his life.
I think we all left feeling a very personal connection with Suggs, and for sharing his life story I want to thank him. He has given us so much and this was the icing on the cake.
I ended up walking home through empty streets in the soaking rain, past silent graveyards and back into the suburban streets from which I came. This time though I felt I had a stronger narrative with me, and one that would keep me smiling until the next time that Suggs pays a visit.
I REMEMBER WAY BACK WHEN
This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby, goes back in time to report on what was going on in the world of Madness 5 years, 10 and 15 years ago this week.
5 years ago…
Issue Number 677 – Sunday 29th April – Saturday 5th May 2012
With much of the UK experiencing some pretty miserable weather this weekend, we’d been holed-up inside, and had spent a good chunk of it putting this issue together for your reading pleasure.
This week’s articles got underway with a review from Jonathan following his recent visit to the Indo Club on the 24th April, where he caught the legendary Near Jazz Experience.
“As I arrived Mark [Bedford] was looking forward to the gig but worried there was no room for wires on the floor, making sure the sounds are not cut short by tripping patrons. I place myself right at the front to enjoy the sounds the band create and this involves being the doorman somewhat to the comings and goings at the front of the pub”.
It was over to Record Collector Magazine next, as Vince Garden gave us the heads up to let us know that Chris and Lee were interviewed in a massive four-page article. This was accompanied by some nice black and white photos of the band from 1978, where they were at The Hope and Anchor.
Following this we moved on to iPhone news. Why? Well, a new Camden Town app had been released.
“Designed as the perfect companion for a trip to Camden Town, this new iPhone App guides you around the streets to help you find exactly what you are looking for. Suggs has been speaking to the times Culture section about being involved in some additional filming linked to the project.
The app features YouTube video tours by top celebrities from the area, with their own exclusive take on Camden.”
Next, we had a slice of Ska Orchestra news courtesy of Darren Fordham. Darren told us that their next gig would be taking place in Brighton, but tickets had already sold out. If you’d not managed to secure one, the next gig after that was on the 2nd June at the Islington Assembly Hall.
How did you fancy bagging a bargain? If you did you may have been interested to learn that Retro Madness were currently a “Buy 3 Get 4th Free” deal on all of the LPs listed on the LPs page of the website. All you had to do was choose any 4x LPs from the URL below and click to buy them via their Paypal checkout system and within 24 hours of your purchase they’d refund the price of the cheapest one back to you. Very nice!
We finished off this week’s issue by proving that you shouldn’t always believe everything you read on Wikipedia. Why? Well, we noticed that the online encyclopaedia were currently listing “Sufficient Attribution” as the name of the next Madness album. We asked the band’s management who confirmed “This is definitely not one of the suggested titles you’ll have to keep guessing for now.”
10 years ago…
Issue number 417 – Sunday 29th April to Saturday 5th May 2007
Another issue, and another gig got announced!
Yes, it was time to get those diaries out and book those flights, as on Saturday 16th of June Madness were booked to perform Fencing Hall, Athens. We’d been digging around over the weekend in an effort to pass on further details, but at present this was all we had.
On to the articles, and we began with the news that Madness were to record a new version of Baggy Trousers alongside hip-hop rapper and producer Sway.
The reworked track, we were told, would be called ‘Baggy Jeans’, and was due to be released later in the year.
A stylish new reinvention of great fashions or embarrassing pants? Time and taste would tell!
It was over to ITV Upclose next, as we featured an interview with the one and only Suggs, who talked about the new single, Sorry, and, out of the two versions, which one would be the single version.
Suggs also spoke about the Dangermen concept, and whether the band members have shy and retiring sides to them behind the Nutty facade.
Following this we moved on to gig news, and Madness were booked to play at the Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary, which was due to take place between the 8th and 15th of August.
Currently, Madness were one of 22 bands currently lined up to play the main stage during the week long festival. At present it wasn’t known what date the band would be performing on.
Next, and as we reported on in recent MIS issues BBC Four had produced a modern take on a music hall show for part of their Edwardian season.
We could now tell you that the show Music Hall Meltdown would be on BBC FOUR on Monday 7 May 2007 from 9pm-10.30pm.
Madness were billed to appear in the show that was filmed at the Clapham Grand Theatre, and judging by the publicity photo for the show it looked like all 7 of band were in the line up that night.
Emule was our port of call next, as we featured a roundup of bootleg links for your downloading pleasure. Gigs available included the band’s appearance at Glastonbury 86 and at The Stateside Centre Bournemouth 79.
We brought this issue to a close by looking at Facebook groups relating to Camden Town. Although there were one or two groups up and running, the largest was one called ‘We Love Camden Town’, which had a mere 158 members. Not a huge amount, but then Facebook only had 18 million members at the time.
15 years ago…
Issue number 155 – Sunday 28th April to Saturday 4th May 2002
We started off the issue with news that whilst Rob had returned home after sunning himself in Cuba for two weeks, Jonathan was then away.
However, unlike Rob, who’d been off lazing around, Jonathan’s trip was all in the name of research, of which we’d find more about in a subsequent issue.
News in from subscriber Chris Carter-Pegg, was that Madness off-shoot, Like Father, Like Son were reviewed in the May edition of ‘Scootering’ magazine. As always, we hoped to bring the article to a future issue of the MIS.
Probably the most exciting news this week was that not only had the Christmas tour been confirmed, but we were able to publish all of the dates, and the majority of venues, too. Could this have been one of the earliest announced Madness Christmas tours ever?
Elsewhere in the issue we revealed that the one and only Chas Smash would be releasing his own World Cup song on Monday 27th of May.
Entitled “We’re coming over”, the sound had been produced by music veterans Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, with the track featuring the classic theme from “The Great Escape”.
With the forthcoming Crunch album finally being given a launch date of the 6th of May we were informed that a provisional date for the launch party would be 31st of May at the famous 100 Club.
Over the past few months rumour upon rumour had been flying our way regarding a possible Madness appearance at the 2002 Glastonbury Music Festival. Thankfully MIS subscriber Matt Shakeshaft got in touch with us to reveal how he thought the rumours had most likely started in the first place.
It turned out that various posters had risen up around Glastonbury advertising ‘Madness Live’. The posters not only looked very professional, but in the smallest font possible were the words ‘tribute’. If you failed to spot this it looked as if the boys were planning a gig in the locality.
Very crafty indeed.
That’s just about it for this week’s edition of the MIS.
If you’re one of those hoping to get along to this year’s Madness Weekender in Minehead but have yet to get a ticket you may want to see if you can arrange a group booking with fellow fans in the same situation. As we mentioned in the intro, there are some significant savings to be made.
It could be worth posting up on the Weekender Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/houseoffunweekender/) to see if anyone else is looking to apartment share.
(With thanks to Geof Lamb and Michael Gillis)