The year is rapidly drawing to a close, and last night saw the band perform the closing gig of their 2018 Christmas tour. Naturally, with gigs up and down the country, the local press in their respective patches have been keen to report on such a well-known group performing in their locality.
This week’s Live and Intensified reflects this mass of coverage, and while we’ve not included every article we’ve spotted, there’s certainly a varied selection of sources and gig locations from this tour covered.
Before you continue reading we urge you to check out this excellent view of the band performing Rise and Fall at Brighton. Both picture and sound quality are excellent, for what we can only assume was taken on someone’s phone:
During the recent tour the band performed the song “My Girl 2” with video footage behind them. We’ve seen several requests from fans asking for details on this video, and we can confirm that it was footage of “Sweet Charity”, a 1969 Neil Simon musical.
On the subject of gigs, the band continue to add to their 2019 line-up, and this week we learned that Madness had booked themselves in for a performance in Inverness on the 23rd August. The 40th anniversary year for our favourite group is already looking like a busy one, and we’re certain that further gigs will be announced as we move into the new year.
Our MIS Feature this week comes courtesy of Owen Collins, who’s been kind enough to send us a really detailed review of Suggs at the Wycombe Swan on October 28th where he was appearing as part of his What a King Cnut tour.
The idea is a simple one, that came to us one evening back in July.
Bands as Football Teams, Football Teams as Bands.
We now have over 400 badges, working with friends and guest designers, setting up an exhibition at The National Football Museum in Manchester https://bandsfc.com/”
Bands FC have given a large number of badges to the band to give away on the Sound of Madness tour. So, if you’re buying something before or after one of the gigs don’t forget to pick up your free badge.
New Arrivals at The Madstore
If you missed the House Of Fun or you need another fix get your hands on the event range NOW at The MAD STORE with 20% OFF whilst stocks last!
NEW STOCK JUST LANDED!
2018 Christmas Sweaters, track jackets, polos, fez hats, tea towels, badge sets, dekker hats, beanie hats the list goes on….!
Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson is a most unlikely character. Early career choices had him spend a year in Borstal. He still hasn’t found the receipt for his first saxophone. Luckily, he met two other unlikely characters: Mike ‘Barso’ Barson and ‘Chrissy Boy’ Foreman, who shared his interests of graffiti, train hopping and music.
One Man’s Madness, a feature length rocku-docu-mockumentary directed by Jeff Baynes, tells the story of Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson, told by Lee and his fellow Madness band mates, his family, friends and musicologists, who strangely all look a little like him! From meeting Barso and Chrissy Boy, and later Suggs, Chas, Woody and Bedders, to becoming one of Britain’s most iconic and successful bands, this joyous and light-hearted film follows the path of Lee’s life through his lyrics and songs, including such Madness classics as The Prince, Embarrassment, House Of Fun, Lovestruck and NW5.
Two CD set. Original soundtrack to the 2018 documentary about Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson. Includes tracks from Madness, Crunch, ‘Thommosina Leigh’, Ian Dury, and the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra. Including Hidden Tracks.
Danceable and delightful, this debut album of the band’s much loved original songs pushes on through, breaking the mould of standard ska cover band. Catchy tunes and powerful brass and rhythm section make this a must-listen. Featuring Lee Thompson.
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: 763 – Sunday 22nd December to Saturday 28th December 2013
The end of 2013 was almost upon us, and the festive season was now in full swing. While we were unable to send out a Christmas present to you all we instead pointed you in the direction of the following YouTube link where you’d find the Lee and Daley Thompson band performing “No Lights on The Christmas Tree”;
“Every one & 40 years, gems originally released come back to haunt ye. What was so sacrilegious about this show stopper was…..It was released 4 years too early!
This has to be un-earthed, polished up….Just a little mind….& Unleashed upon the masses & rewarded by filling, all decent music & theatrical loving dovies of the world’s, Christmas stockings Now!”
Moving on to gig news, and the biggie this week was that the band were due to play at the Festival Musilac in France on the 13th July. Tickets were already on sale despite the gig being a good seven months away.
Back to this year, and with the band seeing in 2014 as part the new year’s eve celebrations in Dublin we’d managed to get hold of the timetable for the evening, so if you were attending you knew when you’d need to be there to catch Madness’ performance without leaving the comfort of a local pub too early.
With 2013 coming to a close the Official Madness Facebook Group had put together a 2013 in pictures montage detailing some of the highlights the past 12 months had to offer. “Here’s some of the highlights” the said. “What were yours?”.
We brought this issue to a close by wishing you a very merry Christmas, and promising to return next week with the first part of our 2013 lookback.
10 years ago…
Issue 503 – Sunday 21st December to Saturday 27th December 2008
We weren’t quite sure where to start as it’d been an absolutely chaotic week, with so much happening, that we were wondering if someone was having a laugh. But, no. What’d taken place over the past seven days would have to rank as one of the busiest weeks in the band’s history in almost 30 years!
Why? Well, We had three live gigs, tickets then went on sale for Madstock 5, and if that wasn’t enough, much of the new album had been made available for legal digital download via the official web site.
We were still digesting just what’s taken place, and with so much having gone on, we asked for some forgiveness if we’d missed something out of this issue.
The articles kicked off with the news that a new Madness box set was available to pre-order via the official Madness web site. Due for release on the 2nd March 2009, this luxury set would not only feature the full album on CD and vinyl, but also a badge, poster and many more collectors’ treasures. Not only that, but purchase of this new box set would induct you into the ‘M’ society, granting you access to behind the scenes access to areas on the Madness site.
Probably even more exciting was the box out message on the web site, which read;
“Order now and you will receive an exclusive download of ‘The Liberty of Norton Folgate’ on the 22nd December”
An exclusive download? What could that mean? One track? A couple of tracks? Maybe the whole album, but in low quality bit rate MP3?
Well, we didn’t have long to find out, as an email went out from Anglo Management, which read;
“Thompson, Barson, Bedford, Smyth, Woodgate Foreman and McPherson Ltd Commissioners For Oaths
We hereby notify you of our impending release: a new album by the popular combine of musicians known as Madness. Featuring songs with vocals and full instrumental accompaniment.
The release has been formally christened ‘The Liberty of Norton Folgate’.
You have been chosen, amongst thousands, to take part in this special advance-purchase offer. We will be releasing the album in a luxurious limited edition boxed set which will include the full album, The Liberty of Norton Folgate, plus exclusive tracks and out-takes both on heavy-weight vinyl and CD with poster, badge and many other collectors’ treasures all housed in a beautiful box.
Purchase of the set initiates your membership into M, a society and collective – which can include you – so secret, no-one has even told us. Membership unleashes bounteous bounty in the future: events, releases and goodness knows what else.
This set is available to pre-order now if you visit the electronic domain that is www.madness.co.uk
ATTENTION ATTENTION – FOR ALL THOSE PURCHASED NOW YOU WILL IMEDIATELY RECEIVE A UNIQUE PERSONAL DOWNLOAD CONTAINING THE COMPLETE ALBUM…
We remain your humble yet obedient servants and wish you a Merry Xmas:
Gabriel Oscar Gracian
Senior Executor: M
For and on behalf of Messrs
Thompson, Barson, Bedford, Smyth, Woodgate, Foreman and McPherson Ltd.
So, what would we be getting on the 22nd? Well, it turned out that 12 of the 23 songs recorded for the project would be available for download. It was meant to be a sampler of the album – a reward for ponying up the cash early for the box set.
Very nice indeed.
Elsewhere in this issue we reported on Madness signing a deal to launch their 30th anniversary album, The Liberty of Norton Folgate with Power Amp, a music investment fund.
And for those of you looking forward to the summer months we revealed that Madstock 5 had been announced. The date was advertised as Friday 17th July 2009, Victoria Park, Tower Hamlets, London. Little did we know that the weather would be awful on the day, and many people would suffer at the hands of pickpockets.
The event was also announced as having ‘Special’ guests, with the special in quotes. Was this done for a reason or simply to get us going? We’d have to wait and see.
At the end of the article we had to issue a “stop press”, as subscriber Liz Maher reported that the event had now been taken off the SeeTickets web site, and clicking on the original URL simply returned a “Sorry, your search found no matches”.
So, what was going to happen to those who had already paid for tickets?
15 years ago…
Issue 241 – Sunday 21st December to Saturday 27th December 2003
Despite the extremely short intro, this week’s edition of the MIS was absolutely rammed, with numerous reviews of recent live performances and much more besides.
Subscriber Andy Hall reported on the Wembley concert held on the 8th of December, commenting that a number of infrequently played tracks were aired that night, including a highlight for him, the classic ‘Disappear’, which he noted had a fuller sound than the original album version.
Having a more eventful live experience was one Chris Wardell who detailed one of the ‘highlights’ of his evening being almost escorted off the premises of The Newcastle Telewest Arena. Thankfully the arena staff saw sense when Chris flattened one of the trouble makers with a swift right hook, and in the process obviously made it quite clear that he wasn’t with them.
Fellow subscriber Darren Balsdon had a slightly less violent evening at the same venue, which he reported started off in a bar called Gotham Town, which had a DJ doing a Madness warm up set, playing Madness, ska, two tone and some Jam tunes prior to the gig. Darren commented that it was a great way to get into the mood for the concert.
Mr. Balsdon actually appeared in this edition of the MIS with two separate articles. His first was the aforementioned gig review while the second was a plea to the band to continue airing some of the slowly non-single tracks such as ‘March of The Gherkins’ and ‘Prospects’.
Here’s some of what Darren had to say;
“I think the truth is that you can’t jump up and down like a loony to these mellow tracks – you have to stand still and savour them!
This sudden decrease in energy levels and its calming affect can give the illusion that the crowd aren’t interested! In fact they are probably having a quiet moment of melancholic reflection, and getting their breath back.
I hope the band will keep this balanced approach to their live set. After all, the people there purely to hear hit singles might be better off attending the Smash Hits Poll Winners Pop Party!”
Moving on, and co-editor Jon Young managed to join the tour on the Birmingham leg of the trip, and recounted drunken antics whilst wearing a fake afro wig, The wig didn’t even last the first song before it got nabbed by a fellow concert goer. Subscriber John Spate had more luck with the fez he’d purchased at Great Yarmouth, as he’d managed to get through the entire gig with it still on his head. How?
We’re not quite sure!
Those unable to attend any of the gigs on the Christmas tour didn’t have to miss out on their Madness fix entirely, as on the 24th and 25th of December the BBC Three aired ‘Our House – The Musical’, filmed at The Cambridge Theatre on the show’s final night. OK, it wasn’t as good as going to see the band perform live, but it was better than nothing, surely.
With Cardiff being the nearest venue to my home town of Bristol the Cardiff International Arena gig was the one I chose to go to, and the one I obviously reported on upon my return.
I gave a terrific thumbs-up to the performance, with a special mention to the timeless classic ‘Disappear’, and commenting that;
“The band really sounded like they had been practicing the majority of the songs, and with the excellent set and backing instrumentalists everything looked and sounded more professional than anything I’ve seen them do since the 1985 New
Year’s Eve gig for The Old Grey Whistle Test.”
I’m a miserable sod at times, and I still had time to moan when I mentioned that this was the first Madness gig I’d ever been to where I’d not bought anything, as the prices were so high. Looking back, it would be a joy to be only charged £6 for a mug these days!
Suggs – What a King Cnut, Wycombe Swan, October 28th
It feels weird to think that last time I saw a Suggs one-man show, I was still a teenager. The heady, early days of 2012, before flatbed lorries in the Olympic Park and swaggering the rooftops of Buckingham Palace. I suppose quite a lot has happened since then – crikey, that was just in the next six months. Since then, as Madness fans, we’ve been blessed with two new albums, six(ish) tours, nearly seven Houses of Fun, Ally Pally, Clapham Common, the return of Bedders, the departure of Chas, and all sorts of other shenanigans behind the scenes, too numerous to mention. High time for another delve, then, into the life of our favourite frontman. Obviously, though, although the unlikely events of 2012 receive plenty of airtime, this is a strictly Suggs-centric show, and anyone turning up for juicy details of inter-band relations, or the real reason Suggs now sings the bridge in Our House by himself, will be disappointed. Not me, mind, because I wasn’t expecting any of that.
I was expecting Suggs, and it was Suggs we got – besuited, bewigged, and, despite a bit of a cough, full of the usual patter and panache we’ve come to know and love. In fact, it is almost exactly what you’d expect, and at times feels like all of the between-song banter from years of gigs sewn together into a two-hour show. Woven into the weft of WAKC’s many rock and roll anecdotes of Glastonbury blackouts, Virgin Radio hi-jinks, and Soho misadventures, it’s also a show, supposedly, about the family side of Suggs – his late mum is a recurring character, as is his wife Anne (and the story of her conversation with a disgruntled cabbie is, for me, the moment of the show.)
I’m trying not to give away too many spoilers, either to this show, or to My Life Story (although let’s face it, you’ve had about seven years, I reckon that one’s fair game now.) But whereas the last show recounted Suggs’ attempt to track down, or at least find out anything about, his long-estranged father, the focus of this sequel is the revelation of a long-lost sister. Except it’s not really the focus, it’s more a tantalising drama threaded throughout anecdotes from the latter half of Suggs’ career, from the early noughties onwards (hard to be too precise because – perhaps unsurprisingly – he doesn’t really explain things in terms of where the band were at any given time.)
The thing is, where My Life Story became about much more than just the various scrapes enjoyed by the singer, the emotional subplot in WAKC feels tacked on, rather like he was ready to tour the show and then discovered the news and decided to throw it in as it had provided a nice focus the first time round. At what we’ll term “the big reveal” of My Life Story, the revelation of his Dad’s tragic and wasted life was genuinely moving. Here, the conclusion comes down to a facebook friend request and the summing-up “so now I’ve got a sister.” To invert the title of one of Absolutely’s underrated gems, the family side of this show is most definitely Underdone.
But that’s forgivable – it’s Suggs, of course it is. And let’s face it, no-one comes to a Suggs one-man show for a night of hard-hitting emotional soul-searching. The audience have come for laughs, and a good time, and that’s what they get (even if more of them were at Brian May’s expense than I was expecting.)
The main issue for me, though, was the increasingly time-bending chronology. According to Suggs, the all-important letter revealing Suggs’ long-lost sister was given to him by his Mum the day after the Olympic Closing Ceremony, although the absence of his sister from a family photograph is on his mind during the recording of This Is Your Life, around a decade earlier. Whether it’s Sugg’s stint on Virgin Radio, the death of Amy Winehouse, or (somewhat bizarrely) the premiere of The Lion King, the last twenty years seem to warp and unravel, the sands of time thrown up in the air and falling to Earth in a seemingly random order. Jodie Whittaker would be proud. No smushing of the years is too much of a stretch if it serves the narrative, and although as a hardcore fan it’s initially rather irritating, I eventually convince myself to just get over it. A wise decision.
That’s the trick to Suggs’ shows, I’ve realised – a suspension of disbelief. Who cares if someone stole his cat’s ashes thinking they were cocaine (possible), or if Brian May caught his hair in the car window after calling Suggs a knob through it (doubtful), or if the Queen remembers a conversation after the Royal Variety Show from fifty-odd years ago (not a chance in hell), Suggs is a storyteller. If the stories have been exaggerated, then like the random pick ‘n’ mix of dates and events, it ultimately doesn’t matter very much when there’s laughs to be had, anecdotes to be told, and goodwill to be imparted.
This review might sound, on the whole, a little negative, but it’s not meant to be. It’s only because focussing on the ropier aspects is a lot easier to write about than the positives, which I’m pleased to say make up the majority of the show. You will find yourself laughing with, and occasionally at, Suggs, whether you’ve listened to every song he’s ever put his larynx too, or if you just saw a fish finger advert ten years ago and have been intrigued ever since. For hardcore fans, there’s the familiarity, that pleasant sense of knowing the punchline before it’s told but still enjoying the way he tells ‘em, and for more casual fans it’s an intimate, and informative, journey into the personal life, love, and larks of the man himself.
And of course, the music’s bloody good: Even if it sometimes sounds a bit weird with only Suggs’ vocals (and he gallops through them), and there’s a conspicuous absence of audience participation (come on Wycombe, clap along you bastards), the ever-game Deano Mumford somehow plays the musical parts of six other band members admirably, and the actual songs selected puts a smile on the face of this fan – and indeed, seemingly every other. From the ubiquitous hits like My Girl, House of Fun, and Our House, to more recent gems like That Close, Norton Folgate, and Blackbird, and onto forgotten nineties nuggets like Alcohol and – even more unexpectedly – Blue Day(!), once again with this show, there is the sense of the ghost of that infamous cancelled solo tour being finally exorcised.
All in all, then, this is a great evening. Yes, if you’ve read his autobiography, you might find yourself knowing the ending, but what’s wrong with that? In the same way that we will gladly watch old episodes of classic sitcoms again and again, despite knowing the script word for word, and in the same way we’ll keep going back to see Madness in concert halls or muddy fields up and down the land, despite having every song on a CD at home, ten times each, we come back to Suggs because he’s reliably hilarious, comfortingly familiar, and a guaranteed giver of the old-time good times.
And yes, he’s a bit of a King Cnut. But he is, ultimately, our King Cnut.
Forty years on and the Two-Tone revival is as popular now as it was in the late 70s and early 80s.
Madness brought their own revival back to West Yorkshire with their latest tour, The Sound of Madness to First Direct Arena in Leeds.
The bovver boot, bowler-hatted packed crowd were eagerly awaiting their beloved ‘Nutty Boys’ for another round of chart-smashing ska hits and, with four decades of success behind them, it wasn’t going to be a stand still and watch gig.
MADNESS remain the party band of choice for men of a certain age and the jauntiness and irreverence of their pop ska sound has aged far better than some in their audience – many a middle-aged bald pate was conveniently covered by a novelty fez purchased from the merchandise stall as the band celebrated nigh on 40 years of knees-up nutterdom.
But while they were still happy to play up to the Nutty Boy image, encouraging their fans to take up the exaggerated spoken word intro to their hyper cover of Prince Buster’s One Step Beyond, there were understated layers to their lyrical portraits of London street life.
Madness, Hydro, Glasgow ***
Brexit Britain has thrown up any number of alternative targets for the ire of shameful soap opera Embarrassment, while My Girl remains a bittersweet dissection of why men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Mr Apples, from most recent album Can’t Touch Us Now, continued their socially conscious tradition with a character study of how power perverts.
In a wide-ranging set, the band rooted out an old album track Rise and Fall, stepped right back in time to their debut single The Prince and made a stretched attempt to pass off The Sun and the Rain as a Christmas song with a “jingley bells” version. This was immediately followed with a nostalgic homage to summer holidays and a further tenuous connection to air travel in The Wings of a Dove during which the audience were left to handle the gospel choir breakdown.
Full article at above link.
Madness review – Baggy Bangers with a British pop Institution
That an arena full of people of all ages (many wearing a Madness fez) know every word of a spoken intro from a 1979 single says everything about the esteem with which the Camden Nutty Boys are held by the public. They’re a British pop institution, with a reputation – and the core of the setlist – still based on an incredible 1979-86 run of 21 Top 20 hits, and why not? Few bands have had such a Midas touch that such giants as Embarrassment, The Prince and a lovely reworked My Girl appear within the first six songs.
Full article at above link.
What went down at unforgettable Madness gig at Hull’s Bonus Arena
1. Choose the friends you want by your side. It’s nice to get to know strangers at a party but time with your closest friends will be most important. We’ve rented a big house in Brighton, so I’ll be driving straight there after the gig!
2. Have a new year tradition to look forward to. Because my wife’s family is from Whitstable, as soon as Big Ben chimes, we down champagne and oysters. Over the years I have learned to pace myself. My days of carrying my wife over Vauxhall Bridge with a shoe gone are well behind me now.
3. Don’t have a sit-down meal — make this your night for dancing instead. If your guests are all sitting around a heaving table, they’ll get stuck there. If ever there was a night for nibbles and circulating, this is it.
Full article at above link.
Madness at Inverness Gig
Madness to play Northern Meeting Park in August. Firmly enshrined Ska royalty in Suggs and Co. aka Madness will make a return to Inverness to headline their own show after impressing Highland audiences with appearances at Rockness (way back in 2013) and a more recent slot at Belladrum.