And they’re off! Yes, on Friday the band’s 40th anniversary tour got underway at the famous Aintree Racecourse.
Ian Taylor of the sadly defunct Mad Not Mad fanzine has sent in an absolutely superb write-up of this career defining gig, and it sounds as if the band did everything right. If you’ve booked to see them later on this tour, as long as the band continue performing as well as they did on Friday then you’ll be in for a real treat.
Earlier in the week we learned that a brand new display had been unveiled by the Theatre & Performance department at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, featuring our favourite band. Chris Carter-Pegg of online Madness merchandise stockist “Retro Madness” commented;
“To all thinking of making the trip to the V&A it’s worth remembering it’s only 1 cabinet with about 10 items in it, all of which can be seen in photos on facebook now, so if you have to travel a long way, to avoid disappointment it’s definitely worth bearing in mind it’s just a small display and not a large exhibition.”
So, if you’re in the area then do pop in and take a look. Otherwise, if you live miles away from central London it’s probably not worth the journey unless you can integrate the V&A visit into a larger trip of the capital.
26th – Tunes in the Dunes, Peranporth Beach, Cornwall. (Madness appear on the Sunday.)
31st – Docklands, Limerick, Ireland
1st – Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Dublin, Ireland
2nd – Waterford, Day Tripper Festival, Ireland
7th – Market Rasen Racecourse, Lincolnshire
8th – Chepstow racecourse, Monmouthshire
15th – Kenwood House, Hampstead. This Massive North London home coming gig for Madness XL features a full scale orchestra with the band. ** SOLD OUT ** If you’re planning to travel from Hertfordshire check out this link for coach travel info: https://zeelo.co/interest/16097
16th – Isle of Wight Festival
21st – New Market Racecourse, Suffolk
22nd – Lingfield Park Racecourse, Surrey
28th – Franklin Gardens, Northampton (Suppt: The Lightning Seeds)
29th – Newcastle Racecourse, Newcastle
4th – Noches del Botanico, Madrid, Spain
5th – Port America, Galicia, Spain
6th – Vida Festival, Barcelona, Spain
12th- Vivary Park, Taunton
19th – Open Air Theatre, Scarborough (Suppt: The Pigeon Detectives)
20th – Doncaster Racecourse, Doncaster
21st – Bitts Park, Carlisle (Suppt: Bootleg Beatles & Chris Difford) Orig date 9/6/19
24th – Sanddown Park Racecourse, Esher
17th – Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire
18th – Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland
20th – Custom House Square, Belfast
23rd – Northern Meeting Park, Inverness
24th – East Links, Montrose
26th – Clapham Common, XL South London festival. With “Special” Guests.
30th – Wolverhampton Racecourse, Wolverhampton
31st – Winter Gardens, Margate
1st – The Downs, Bristol, (Suppt: David Rodigan)
Friday 29th – Monday 2nd December – House of Fun Weekender 2019
12th – AFAS Live, Amsterdam
Before We Was We: The Making of Madness by Madness
The band’s first official book.
The story of how they became them. It’s a journey full of luck, skill and charm, as they duck and dive by day and make the name in London’s exploding music scene by night, zipping around the capital in their Morris Minor vans. Their formative years, 1970-79.
This is the riotous coming-of-age tale of seven unique individuals, whose collective graft, energy and talent took them from the sweaty depths of the Hope and Anchor basement to the Top of the Pops studio. In their own words, they each look back on their past and how during those shared adventures, they formed a bond that’s lasted forty years. Before We Was We is irreverent, funny and full of character. Just like them.
You can now buy a range of classic album design T shirts.
Absolutely returns to the official T shirt store since first appearing a decade ago as merchandise. Seven now joins the albums T-shirts range, only previously a promotional shirt. For the first time Rise & Fall (Following last year’s triumphant return of this album’s title track on tour) joins official shirt range.
Best of all, 10 years on from its box set release, The Liberty of Norton Folgate is purchasable. We are having a little bit of that!
Complete Madness. Total Madness hits albums join the range.
This range is also certainly a reaction to the continuing bullshit of bootleggers targeting social media with non licensed product not endorsed by the band and illegal.
Don’t be an idiot and buy from badly photoshopped pictures of Suggs holding a shirt up etc. Those are fake. The Madstore and official band website and gigs merchandise stands are all run by the same company with the band’s legal backing. You will only find a small number of charity shirts or some One Step Beyond shirts outside of buying from the official online store. Don’t give your money to the bootleggers exploiting you.
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: 784 – Sunday 18th May to Saturday 24th May 2014
With a click and a whirr The Happy Machine, The centre of the M.A.D.H.E.A.D was switched on by Chas Smash on Tuesday. Mike was there to check its pulse, and then Thommo hit it with a spanner just to make sure it was on. It then revealed a glorious new tour poster to the world, which marked the first time all seven had attended the same professional band photoshoot since images shot in 2008 (some later used in new poses up to Madstock 2009 promotion.)
Following this it poured Mark a beverage, we are informed by him on twitter, which was a nice elderflower cordial.
All for the M.A.D.H.E.A.D Tour was now on sale with dates running from the 4th to the 20th December.
Aside from news of a new Christmas tour and accompanying dates the biggie this week was that the home recorded footage of Glastonbury 86 featuring Madness singing Precious One had been unearthed.
Although filmed from a long way off and not the whole song, this was the only video footage we’d ever seen of the track that never made it to an album.
From about the 19 mins 25 second mark onwards. Pretty cool.
Derek William who uploaded the 20 minutes of the festival he captured, says of the filming….
“Home movie vid of the Glastonbury Festival 1986. This was taken with a stupidly large and heavy camera / VHS recorder arrangement which weighed half a ton and was powered by a lead acid battery that lasted about 20 minutes and it only just worked.”
The clips includes very short parts of ….
Precious One, Yesterday’s Men, Bit of Banter with Suggs and Lee, Night Boat, Time (Check out Chris’s heel kicks!), It Must Be love. (Suggs banter) Embarrassment, One step Beyond, and Grey Day. There are also bits of the set by The Cure, some skiffle band and mostly the crowds walking around.
Moving on to Sign of the Times, and it was very much influences by the release of Rock Around the Clock, which had been released 60 years prior on the 20th May 1954. What did this have to do with Madness? Well, to celebrate this musical milestone a brand new version had been put together especially for Radio 2. The band producing the reimagining featured Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs, Andy Fairweather Low, Mark King of Level 42, Rick Wakeman, Lee Thompson of Madness and Radio 2’s own music news journalist Matt Everitt. Together they looked at the techniques used to create the original, plus what had changed and stayed the same in music since rock and roll was born
We brought this issue to a close with news from Swanny, maintainer of the official Crunch! facebook page, who told us that a rehearsal for a Crunch! set went well on Saturday. The rehearsal in question was of the full album from 1990! Not only that, but Crunch! polo necks could now be purchased from the band’s Facebook page.
10 years ago…
Issue 524 – Sunday 17th May to Saturday 23rd May 2009
With the new album due to hit music stores up and down the country the following day it would come as no surprise to learn that much of this week’s MIS geared-up for the big day.
Looby and Jon Young devoted a section of the issue detailing the various aspects of album promotion that would be taking place over the coming weeks as the band and management attempted to give Norton Folgate a really good push both on TV and radio.
The highlight (for us fans, at least) of all this promotional work had to be the TV commercial the band had put together. It was was absolutely fantastic, and we’d already received reports of it appearing on UK TV channel “More Four”. If coverage continued on this and other channels we hoped that it could really help to shift copies of the new album.
One thing was for sure, when the dust settled, no matter how sales went, we certainly couldn’t grumble about the lack of effort being put in.
Looking beyond the album launch, the band had added yet another date to their ever-growing list of gigs for the year. This time they’d be performing at the Oya Festival in Oslo, Norway on the 14th August.
The band certainly showed no signs of slowing down!
The majority of articles this week were taken from the national press, which were mainly focused around the forthcoming album release. However, we also took time to run the next stage of our MIS 10th anniversary competition, MIS Birthday Bingo.
We brought this issue to a close with a download link to the band’s recent appearance on Later With Jools Holland and an iPlayer link to a 30 years of Two Tone documentary that featured on a recent episode of the BBC’s One Show.
15 years ago…
Issue 262 – Sunday 16th May to Saturday 22nd May 2004
Mass hysteria was gripping the online Madness community this week with the news that The Dangermen (AKA, Madness) would be playing a number of impromptu gigs at the famous Dublin Castle, and so for one week only, this became the D.M.I.S Online bulletin.
Naturally, with this temporary renaming of our weekly newsletter, it would come as no surprise to those reading that this would feature masses of Dangermen coverage.
So, how did we find out about this gig at the DC? After all, following their re-forming back in 1992, previous performances at the DC by the band had been kept hush, hush.
Things were a little different this time around…
Chatter reached fever pitch across the online Madness community during the evening of Tuesday 11th May when the following messages appeared in many a Madness fan’s inbox.
First, from the mailing list on the official web site;
“You are cordially invited to witness the debut performance of London’s hottest new SKA combo the Danger Men who will be appearing at the Dublin Castle on the 19th/20th/21st/22nd of May.
The band consists of Graham “Suggs” McPherson on vocals Chas Smash on nutty dancing/vocals, Lee “Kix” Thompson on saxophone, Chris “Chrissy Boy” Foreman on guitar, Mike “Barzo” Barson on keyboards, Daniel “Woody” Woodgate on Drums and Mark “Bedders” Bedford on bass. They will be ably assisted by the Monkey String section, a full brass section and various loop de loops.
Tickets will be available from Bugbear Promotions on 0208-806-2668 or avgleed at yahoo.co.uk
Mails were quickly sent off to Tony Gleed at Bugbear, but a few were cautious as this had not only come out of the blue, but also because if the name `Bugbear`, which is also the title of a recent worldwide hitting virus.
Once report of replies from Tony came back in, everyone realised that this was no joke, and that the magnificent seven would be returning to their roots for a number of small gigs in the legendary Dublin Castle.
With the band booked in for a stint at the DC, it would come as no surprise to learn that the money grabbers were quick to act, and a mass of gig tickets quickly appeared on Ebay at vastly inflated prices.
While you were over on Ebay taking a look at the prices the DC tickets were going for we urged you to take a look at an auction for an original Madness flier from the Dublin Castle. Not only that, but the flier was fully signed by the band.
We finished this week’s issue off by reminding the readers that due to all of the MIS team going to the DC gig on the Saturday night, the following issue wouldn’t be going out until the Monday.
Live and Intensified
Madness – Aintree, Friday 17th May 2019. Back at the Races
As the 40th Anniversary celebrations begin to properly build up from a canter, Madness returned to Aintree Racecourse looking in fine form.
The dark clouds loomed over head, the sort of symbolic omen one might expect, just as with the occasional rumblings from those who mutter away within their negativity about bands lacking energy or losing vocal range or releasing material that compares badly to yesteryear. And much as the breeze blew away the rain, so the XL Madness machine triumphantly dispersed the ill-informed opinions formed by those peering myopically through rose tinted shades. Madness galloped from start line to finish with no concern for thoughts of “when your race is run”.
It helped that the nicely sized stage, in the best traditions of Goldilocks, was “not too big, not too small” and was sited outdoors away from the racecourse itself but within easy reach of all the amenities. Far better than when housed indoors here some years ago. The wide space of grass before the stage allowed a sizeable crowd to gather close whilst inclines either side offered similar opportunities for those preferring to sit, drink, picnic or attempt to avoid the pack. If that was their intention then they might have got it wrong…the sides were drunker, pushier and a tad more fractious whereas the front centre was a veritable oasis of calm with several children of modest years enjoying the show right up to the barriers, safe from the irritating mindlessness of drunken fights fired up by overzealous drunken dancing (well, apart from the one occasion which was, to be honest, dealt with most effectively by the wiser majority in the crowd (including my wife, Lisa!)
We were at the gig as a family, bringing Tilly (just turned six) to her second Madness show, albeit the first that she would remember. We positioned ourselves at the barrier directly in front of the stage an hour or so pre-gig, before most of the crowd had arrived from their betting and imbibing. It was here that acquaintances were refreshed with the North Wales wonder kid Cai Roberts and family. Cai is no stranger to the stage of Ska gigs, of course, having been dancing on stage with the great and the good for quite some years. But as the crowds rolled in the security staff asked if we were comfortable staying put. Tilly being younger than the others we opted to move to the slight hill to the left of the stage as we were facing and anticipation grew as the clock ticked inexorably towards 9.05pm. With rolling and revolving lights and a few peels of circus style music, the hour arrived and so did the band. And we were off!
Without doubt, Madness have grown into their six piece persona, enhanced by brass section and percussion, and here was an animal glowing with confidence and honed to nigh on perfection. A line of four held court across the front: a handsomely bewhiskered Thommo in dapper grey checked suit, Suggs maintaining his style and energy, Bedders padding upstage and downstage as cool as you like and Chris standing firm to our right. Mike and Woody were pleasingly close too, nobody was lost in the background and this truly felt like a unit.
As expected, ‘One Step Beyond’ opened proceedings and, yes, the commanding holler of one erstwhile Mr Smash leaves its mark even in its absence but a suitable compromise has now been found. Suggs offered the shortened 7” version of the intro without fuss or preamble and the vintage juggernaut did the rest. Lee’s lungs appeared to be in fine form and the audience was up and moving immediately. ‘Embarrassment’ and ‘The Prince’ followed briskly minus any banter in between and these early classics found the crowd in lusty voice. Talking of voices, it soon became clear (in my opinion at least) that Suggs was in tune, on form and revelling in it. One or two of his by now rather hackneyed links cropped up but his banter felt relaxed and spontaneous. I haven’t heard him sound better in quite some time, and this from a supporter who has always remained happy with him anyway. Meanwhile, Lee has made that second frontman role his own and he amused throughout with an array of random noises and quips which, along with well- judged and delivered backing vocal, supplemented his full bodied sax attack very well indeed, thank you very much!
The plan was clearly to offer a nice spread of the whole Madness career, barring the mid-80s brace of ‘Mad Not Mad’ and ‘The Madness’ which comes as no surprise but which I would love to see a hint of here and there. As ever, the debut album weighs in with a seemingly unshiftable Big Six of the afore mentioned ‘One Step Beyond’ and ‘The Prince’ along with ‘My Girl’, ‘Bed and Breakfast Man’ and two others that I shall arrive at in time. ‘Absolutely’ was also represented beyond the one track, a strong rendition of ‘Embarrassment’ and the crowd igniting ‘Baggy Trousers’ being no surprise to anyone, but the other albums were represented in the singular with ‘Shut Up’ there on behalf of ‘7’ during that last third “all killer, no filler” section and ‘Our House’ performed majestically for ‘The Rise and Fall’. All traces of ‘Wonderful’ and ‘Dangermen’ had vanished in favour of variety and I won’t argue as that included the return of a personal favourite, the sublime ‘One Better Day’ from the equally fine 1984 collection ‘Keep Moving’. It was an absolute joy to hear it and interesting to hear Mike’s variations on the keys there.
1982-3 also proved popular with (in addition to the previously name-checked ‘Our House’) lively versions of ‘House of Fun’, ‘Driving in My Car’, ‘Wings of a Dove’ and ‘The Sun and the Rain’. ‘Driving’ might be the one that I would be prepared to lose but it seemed clear that the set list was aimed squarely at big hits remaining firmly in the consciousness of the general music fan. No arguing with that, these are the tunes that really encouraged the movement of bodies and feet and full throated singing along. At the same time, it was lovely to have the 21st Century albums represented: ‘NW5’ offered an emotive singalong and is now a song that deservedly feels like a long-time Madness classic, ‘My Girl 2’ swung along like a turbo charged Motown number and ‘Mr Apples’, enhanced by the promo video projected behind continues to build its reputation. New material was represented by ‘Bullingdon Boys’ and ‘In My Street’ and both feel as if they are taking a firm final shape and bode well for new recordings. I witnessed no restlessness or disappointment during the new numbers and they fitted in nicely, the social and political commentary, the mid-tempo, middle-aged version of “that Nutty sound”…
The highlight of an evening of highlights came late on for us though. We had moved back to front centre after a few tracks, the hill at the side being too full of drunken picnickers, the incline too treacherous to dance on. Back with young Cai and co. we discovered that Tilly was cordially invited to join the band on stage for the traditional kiddie invasion during ‘Night Boat to Cairo’! Told that we should make ourselves ready after ‘It Must Be Love’ (a touching and heartfelt rendition during which band and crowd really did come together in a metaphorical embrace). This we did, but as the expected refrain of ‘Madness’ began, we were still waiting. So much did this distract me that the morning after I quipped on Facebook that the band didn’t play their eponymous track at my Aintree gig. Unfortunately, that kind of dry one-liner doesn’t travel well electronically and I got corrected more than once! Don’t worry, guys, I know they played it, and played it well with vim and vigour…Lisa recorded it on her phone!
The ‘Night Boat’ was already setting sail when the PR men gave the security a nod and four kids were lifted over the barriers. Before we knew it, the party fun in an Egyptian vein was drawing to a knackered close and there they were, the next generation of Madhead, centre stage to the left of Lee. How can I tell you? I’ve loved this band for four decades, I’ve interviewed them, I’ve chatted to them, I’ve bought some of them drinks (no prizes for guessing which) and I’ve counted myself blessed that my heroes were worth meeting. But to see my own flesh and blood pogoing away, six years old, in flowery DMs…our own Tilly, with Suggs placing his hands fondly on her shoulders and then copying her jumping moves! That’s the ultimate, my friends. Then she came back over the fence to us as Madness left the stage and our daughter, raving about how wonderful the band were, how great the night had been, was a microcosmic example of the entire crowd.
This first race of many in Year XL was won with aplomb and I envy the crowds yet to experience these elder statesmen in their autumnal pomp. Like a fine wine, Madness are maturing and getting deeper and tastier with it. Building on their vast legacy, they are making the most of their Six Appeal.
Ian ‘Big E’ Taylor , Mad Not Mad RIP
The full setlist:
1. One Step Beyond
3. The Prince
5. My Girl
6. My Girl 2
7. Sun and the Rain
8. Bullingdon Boys
9. Wings of a Dove
10. Driving in my Car
11. One Better Day
12. Bed and Breakfast Man
13. In My Street
14. Shut Up
15. Mr Apples
16. House of Fun
17. Baggy Trousers
18. Our House
19. It Must Be Love
21. Night Boat to Cairo
Sign of the Times
Madness at the V&A: London museum to display collection of band’s memorabilia
The V&A is to display a collection of memorabilia from band Madness.
The group, whose hits include House Of Fun, Embarrassment and Our House, have handed over items including a newspaper-print suit worn in one of their videos and a saxophone played in their set at the London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony.
Formed in Camden Town in the late Seventies, Madness were at the forefront of the ska revival and their upbeat sound and witty lyrics helped them score 15 top 10 singles.
They broke up in 1986 before reuniting for the 1992 Madstock concert in Finsbury Park.
Other exhibits include a Union Flag kilt worn by band member Lee Thompson during the London 2012 gig, sheet music, posters, badges and even a comic dedicated to their exploits.
Simon Sladen, senior curator of modern and contemporary performance, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome the Nutty Boys to the Victoria and Albert Museum’s theatre and performance collections.
“Madness’s influences are as varied as our collections themselves. They play with, and are a part of, British iconography and continue to entertain us 40 years after first getting together.”
Other items in the V&A collection include the Glastonbury Festival Archive, Pete Townshend’s guitar and costumes worn by Tina Turner.
Night at the museum will be Madness for band fans
MEMORABILIA from the band Madness has gone on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
The group has handed over items including a newspaper print suit seen in the video of 1986 hit (Waiting For) The Ghost Train and a saxophone played in their set for the London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony.
Other exhibits include a Union flag kilt worn by saxophonist Lee Thompson, sheet music for hit Baggy Trousers and a collection of badges, posters and tour T-shirts. Madness, fronted by Suggs, formed in 1976 and rose to fame in the early 1980s as part of the ska two-tone revival. Their upbeat sound and witty lyrics helped them score 15 top ten singles.
Simon Sladen, the museum’s senior curator of modern and contemporary performance, said: ‘It’s wonderful to welcome the Nutty Boys to the V&A.
‘Madness’s influences are as varied as our collections themselves. They play with, and are a part of, British iconography and continue to entertain us 40 years after first getting together.’
The Nutty Boys stayed the course at Aintree Racecourse, here’s our verdict in 30 seconds
There IS a fine line between genius and madness.
Scientists have proved it..
But if we ever need further confirmation of the old saying, it was laid bare in front of us at Aintree Racecourse, where Madness are now into their fifth decade of performing.
The Nutty Boys are genuine bona fide geniuses of putting smiles on people’s faces. And have been doing so for almost half a century.
They did it again at Aintree Racecourse tonight.
Such was their remarkable run of 21 Top 20 hits between 1979 and 1986 they could hit the ground running with a five song sprint of showstoppers like One Step Beyond, Embarrassment, The Prince, NW5 and My Girl without diluting a barnstorming finale of House of Fun, Baggy Trousers, Our House and It Must Be Love.
The 90 minute set never lulls, interspersed with Suggs’ wistfully nostalgic observations of English social history … “Did anyone have any winners tonight? My old mum said you never see an undertaker or a bookmaker riding home on a bike.”
Items including a newspaper print suit from their 1986 music video (Waiting For) The Ghost Train are on display.
Memorabilia belonging to British band Madness is now on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Fans of the ska and two-tone band can see items including saxophonist Lee Thompson’s union flag kilt from the London Olympics closing ceremony in 2012 and the saxophone he played.
There is also a newspaper print suit seen in the band’s music video for 1986 song (Waiting For) The Ghost Train, which also features on the cover of their greatest hits record Utter Madness, published sheet music for hits such as Baggy Trousers and a collection of badges, posters and tour T-shirts.
Highlights from the collection, which celebrates 40 years of the ska band, are on display now in the V&A’s theatre and performance galleries.
Simon Sladen, senior curator of modern and contemporary performance, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome the Nutty Boys to the Victoria and Albert Museum’s theatre and performance collections.
“Madness’s influences are as varied as our collections themselves, from music hall to variety, ska to two-tone, with their impressive career encompassing not only a film and chart-topping singles and albums but also inspiring a stage musical.
“They play with and are a part of British iconography and continue to entertain us 40 years after first getting together in Camden.”
Madness, featuring lead singer Suggs, formed in the late 1970s and rose to prominence throughout the early 1980s as part of the ska two-tone revival in the charts. They have 15 top 10 singles.
Next week reach a major MIS milestone as the regular “I Remember Way Back When” section goes back to 20 years for the first time.
Yes, the MIS will be 20 years old as it sprang into being on Sunday 23rd May 1999. Thanks to the contribution of our readers it’s gone out every week (a few sending/server issues aside!) since then!
Back then the band were busying themselves for the “20 Years of Madness Celebrations”. Two decades on, and things have gone full circle with our favourite group just recently embarking on their 40th birthday tour.