Last Sunday Madness performed at Camden’s famous Electric Ballroom in an eagerly anticipated 40th anniversary gig. Keeping with the 40 year theme, the songs played were all from the band’s early years with the majority from the One Step Beyond album.
Online reviews have been glowing, and the Facebook posts we’ve seen have been just as positive.
If you were unable to attend then all is not lost. We’ve tried to pull together as much information we could find about the gig and have included it in this very issue. A big thank you go to those who sent in reviews of the gig. It really is appreciated, not just by ourselves but the countless subscribers who can now read about just what went on.
Looking to next year now, and thanks to subscriber Peter Jacobs we’ve been given the heads-up that Madness are being advertised as headlining the Punk Rock Bowling 2020 festival in Las Vegas. The festival runs from the 22nd – 24th May, but at this moment in time we don’t know which date the band are booked to perform.
No sooner had we been given the heads-up from Peter, fellow MIS subscriber Joe Schipsi got in touch to say that tickets to the festival had already sold out! If we hear anything further regarding ticket availability and what day Madness are booked for we’ll let you know.
Could this Las Vegas gig be part of a full Stateside tour? Only time will tell.
TWO TONE RECORDS was created in 1979 by The Specials founder Jerry Dammers. The label spawned a youth movement and a number of well-known artists and singles through its tenure including the aforementioned Specials with key singles ‘Gangsters’, the UK Number singles ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Ghost Town’. They also helped launch the careers of Madness with ‘The Prince’, The Beat with ‘Tears of A Clown’, The Selecter with ‘On My Radio’ and The Bodysnatchers with ‘Let’s Do Rocksteady’ (The Bodysnatchers). The label ended its chart run of singles with ‘Nelson Mandela’ by The Special AKA.
This 40th Anniversary 7” Collection has been curated by Jerry Dammers, selecting his favourite 12 singles released on the label between 1979 and 1984.
– Presented with their original sleeve designs in a bespoke 1960’s style carry case
– A Bespoke Two Tone 7” slip mat
– 7” Art Card signed by Jerry Dammers.
Celebrating 40 Years Of Madness – The 1979 Retro Range (Plus new T-shirts)
This Limited Edition MADNESS XL 40th Anniversary TOOTAL Scarf is now available @ The MADSTORE!
When Madness decided to celebrate their 40th Anniversary of entertaining the British Public, by launching a Strictly Limited-Edition Silk Scarf, teaming up with iconic British Accessories brand Tootal was the obvious choice.
Using Tootal’s centuries of Silk Scarf expertise and heritage within the Ska scene, the Band was instrumental in the design process, incorporating the unmistakable Madness logo with a nod to their truly outstanding 40th Anniversary.
Taking inspiration from their archives, Tootal took vintage styling and added Madness’ flamboyance into the Design.
This unique collaboration piece by Tootal for Madness is made from luxurious pure silk.
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.
This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby goes back in time to report on what was going on in the world of Madness 5, 10, 15 and 20 years ago this week.
5 years ago…
Issue Number 811 – Sunday 23rd November to Saturday 29th November 2014
The regular format of the MIS was ditched for this very special edition of the weekly bulletin, as it was this week we dedicated the entire issue to the 2014 Madchart.
The votes had been counted, the states compiled and it was now time to reveal the top 40 favourite Madness tracks as voted by the online fanbase.
Previous Madcharts looked like this…
Top Three From the 1998 Madchart
#1 One Step Beyond
#2 The Sun and the Rain
#3 Our House
Top Three From the 1999 Madchart (prior to the release of Wonderful)
#1 The Sun and the Rain
#2 One Step Beyond
#3 Our House
Top Three From the 2000 Madchart
#2 It Must be Love
#3 Our House
Top Three From the 2005 Madchart
#2 Our House
#3 Baggy Trousers
Top Three From the 2008 Madchart
#2 Baggy Trousers
#3 The Sun and the Rain
So, what were the top three for 2014? They were as follows…
#2 My Girl
#3 Night Boat to Cairo
10 years ago…
Issue number 551 – Sunday 22nd November – Saturday 28th November 2009
Just missing out on last week’s MIS was the news that promo copies of Forever Young were starting to do the rounds. Probably of more interest to most of you was that the promos were sporting a sticker detailing a release date of the 11th of January.
We recommend you don’t get too excited, though. Release dates for the band’s albums and singles had been known to slip many times in the past, so until we got the date from an official email, web site or see the physical product on the shelves of a music shop we wouldn’t be getting too excited.
Madness had appeared on the BBC’s Children in Need show a number of times since it first hit our screens way back in 1980, so it came as no surprise when a few weeks back we learned that they’d be making an appearance this year.
Many, including ourselves, were expecting the band to be performing over the top of a pre-recorded track, so it was a pleasant surprise when the band (minus Bedders) came on stage and performed It Must be Love, live.
Once finished, Suggs remained on stage for another couple of minutes to natter with various Children in Need presenters.
Next it was on to interviews as Zani web site editor Matteo Sadazzari kindly gave us permission to re-print their interview with Carl Smyth. The interview was a lengthy one and took up the majority of the issue.
We brought this issue to a close with Paul Rodgers and another one of his weekly Madness Chart Musings. After a run of 8 weeks Total Madness had finally departed from the top 75, while the re-release of Norton Folgate had propelled the album to 112 in the album chart. This related to approximately 2000 sales in the previous week. Not bad at all.
15 years ago…
Issue number 289 – Sunday 21st November to Saturday 27th November 2004
We started off this week’s issue with a brief mention of Suggs’ appearance at this year’s Children in Need TV show, which saw our favourite frontman take part in a re-make of the Our House video.
This video featuredTV makeover stars such as Linda Barker, “Handy” Andy, Graham Wynne etc. It started (and finished) with the original opening zoom-in shot of a terraced house, and the bit in between was for charity.
The set was a recreation of the Our House house, containing various cloth-capped D.I.Y celebrities gurning and winking to a play-back of the original song, with good old Suggs his usual self. Quite amusing, although the sight of Suggs pretending to play sax was somewhat disconcerting to many a Madness fan.
On to this week’s MIS, and as readers at the time could no doubt see from the contents, we’d stumbled into a rather quiet week, meaning that unfortunately there was little for is to report on. Our advice was that you read through this very slowly indeed.
This issue featured only two proper articles – the first was a heads up to readers based in the Newcastle Upon Tyne area, to let them know that local band Shut Up would be next taking to the stage on Sunday 28th of November. With top Beat tracks like “Mirror in the Bathroom”, “Tears of a Clown” and “Ranking Full Stop” likely to be aired, it was looking like a top night out.
The other article was an update from Jermaine from Tour Madness, who wrote in to tell us that the latest release of his Madness tour bible was now available.
We brought this issue to a close with news in from Graham Whitfield, who reported that this coming Tuesday the Biography Channel would be showing a programme focusing on Madness. Information was non existent on this production, so we’d have to wait and see what exactly it covered.
20 years ago…
Issue number 27 – Sunday 21st November to Saturday 27th November 1999
With the tour mere weeks away we hoped that the majority of you had purchased or were awaiting delivery of your Madness tickets. If you were still deciding to buy, then time wasn’t on your side. In the last issue we reported how you should start thinking of getting your tickets if you were planning to come along to one of the shows, and this week Simon Roberts told us that www.aloud.com were already out of tickets for Brighton, Bournemouth and Wembley with Cardiff and Manchester also set to sell out within the next couple of days. Our advice – get that credit card out and get on the phone!
This week we had good news for all you fanzine collectors out there.
We’d just received a brief bulletin from Juliet Carter who told us that issue 7 of the excellent `Ska-Mad` was now doing the rounds.
Congratulations went to Juliet from all at MIS, as Juliet finally got herself hitched on the 9th of October.
Moving on, and we had a small snippet in from the TMML’s very own Wozza, who gave us a heads up to inform us that on Saturday 20th of November, BBC’s Radio 2 played the excellent Wonderful album track, `Drip Fed Fred`. Could this mean that Radio 2 know something we didn’t?
Perhaps it was lined-up to be the next single. Only time would tell.
After waiting and waiting, it looked like the long-awaited Madness box-set, `The Lot` would be released tomorrow (22nd Nov), in the UK at least. The set featured all the studio albums from `One Step Beyond` to `Mad Not Mad`, and as usual, the almighty Vince Foley wandered down to his HMV in Cork where as luck would have it, they had it on sale early! What did the near Vince think of the new box-set? All would be revealed elsewhere in the issue where he gave us an in-depth review, starting from the cover and going right through the booklet, the videos and more!
This issue featured some fantastic chart news, where we revealed that in the Amazon UK album charts at least, the Wonderful album had entered the charts at an extremely respectable 5!
News in from NuttyBoys.com revealed that the Sonic Sessions Volume 3 was about to see the light of day. Why would this be of interest to Madness fans? Well, the album featured ‘Our House’, from the session recorded at the Y100 Sonic Session on May 2nd 1999. The CD would be sold in all local Philadelphia outlets of Tower Records, Sam Doody, The Wall and HMV.
Madness weren’t the only band who were about to have a busy time ahead of themselves, as this issue we listed all the forthcoming gigs for One Step Behind which were due to take place between December and February. With 11 gigs lined-up, most only Friday’s and Saturday’s, the band would have some packed weekends ahead of them!
We finished off this week’s issue with news, courtesy of The Maddest Show on Earth web site, who told us that the band had recently been recording their own version of the Abba classic “Money, Money, Money”. What was more exciting was that this track would be appearing in a forthcoming Abba tribute album, entitled Abbamania.
MIS Presents @ HOF
MIS Presents: The Ghost Trainspotter
The 3rd fan film from the makers of MISWAS (2011) & Happy Returns (2012).
“A music fanzine writer struggles to tell a pocketful of mad conspiracy theories.
Haunted by a mysterious ghostly witch. Searching through his memories of late
80s pop culture. Soon he must confront the devil in the frame, or face power pop taking a hold of the charts forever. When your favourite band is no more, who can bring therapy to a mind that’s far too obsessed with Madness?”
Warning contains some disturbing images & strobe lighting effects. It’s not suitable for viewers of a nervous disposition.
Rated R for Horror. (70 minutes)
See the final fan film, at Minehead cinema. 12 Midday Saturday.
The Pool Party.
Saturday 2pm – 4pm
Mr Scurf’s Koast Guard.
The boys are on hand with trojan ska sounds. Featuring Garry Scurfield & Ken Thomson (Nutz about music) on the DJ decks.
While the Jim Sole Angling band buskers will be reeling you in from outside with a few choice performances.
Sunday… on Stage…
Jaks – MIS PRESENTS from 5pm
Owen Collins & The Witney Soul Club. (DJ’s) 5pm
“The Witney Soul Club is a collective of DJs playing the finest in Northern Soul, Ska & Reggae. We’ve been keeping dancefloors busy with our Original Soul & Reggae singles for over 8 years across West Oxfordshire and beyond! – Featuring Owen Collins.”
Crabs (Live Band) 5.20pm
“CRABS! – Your new favourite Surf Rock Band! Scuttling sideways up and down the frets from ’58 to ’63 and beyond. Taking inspiration from instrumental guitar music, the 4-piece band (2 guitars, bass & drums) mix the reverb-heavy Californian Fender sound with early British covers and gnarly garage rock. Our sound cruises the zone between tremolo and reverb, where Apache meets the Baja.
Featuring John Hasler on drums.”
The Bed & Breakfast man (DJ Set) 6pm
Original Invader John Hasler is here to play some tunes from the early days of before Madness was Madness.
The Launchers (Live Band) 6.20pm
The Launchers are a band of 8 not so normal blokes from West London with a mutual appreciation for Trojan music, and a love of song writing. They return to the House of Fun for the third year running with their debut album ‘The Leader’ in their arsenal. With an energetic set of hard hitting original tunes they’ll be sure to keep you skanking all weekend long!
Mandy Boybandy’s Xmas Candy (DJ) 7.40pm
Alternative boyband tunes, with a festive twist to start your Yule celebrations.
Before MIS join in the return of The silent night disco!
HEY you, don’t watch that, watch this… Madness lead singer Suggs walked out on the stage of the Electric Ballroom, opened his mouth and managed to get the first word of the first line of the song One Step Beyond out before the 1,200-odd people in the legendary venue completed the sentence.
It was Sunday night and the Electric Ballroom was being taken back in time – back 40 years to mark a seminal moment in Madness’s story.
The band played at the Ballroom on November 16, 1979 – and to mark the anniversary, the Nutty Boys offered fans the chance to see them do a gig which would only feature the music they had written up to that point in their careers – and charge the original door price of £2.50.
Madness instil a huge sense of loyalty among fans. As well as knowing the lyrics to the more obscure songs performed, the older members of the crowd were still decked out in the fashion calling cards of pork pie hats and trilbys, Harrington jackets or Crombie coats, polo shirts and enough shoe leather to suggest the band’s favourite Camden Town boot store, Holts, doesn’t have too much to worry about in terms of trade.
The gig 40 years ago saw Madness supported by a Rhythm and Blues band, Red Beans and Rice – and guitarist Mark Bedford recalled: “They were great, riotous gigs. It was brilliant because you could really feel the momentum building. You knew you were really onto something.”
This time round the band were joined by The Specials’ Jerry Dammer, who warmed the crowd up with a DJ set.
Camden Town-based Madness fans Sean Noonan, Charlotte Myford, Danny and Catherine Mac said they were thrilled to be there. “We live in Parkway so haven’t exactly had far to come,” said Ms Mac. “Madness have provided the soundtrack for our lives. We have seen them before – and they are as good today as they were when we were all that little bit younger.”
Debby Stanford, who used to party with the band when she was a teenager, added: “Madness have never done anything other than be themselves. I think their secret is they never had any pretences. They wrote songs about their lives in north London, songs about lives we all recognise. And they never got above themselves – you just knew no matter how famous they were becoming, if you bumped into one of them in Camden, they’d give you a smile and chat about the weather, what they had for tea. You still see them about today and it’s just the same.”
The set list did not feature some of their biggest hits – there was no Our House or Baggy Trousers, for example – but it certainly showed the root of such tunes.
Other extras included former footballer Vinnie Jones joining Suggs to sing the band’s homage to Jamaican ska legend Prince Buster.
A Triumphant Return to the Electric Ballroom
I have been a Madness fan from the 1st time I heard The Prince climbing the charts on Radio One in the summer of 1979. That xmas in ‘79 I was bought the One Step Beyond LP. I would marvel at the wording on the LP sleeve, the main nutty train photo and smaller pictures of the nutty dancer. I would often think of Rushent’s mansion and the fact that he was referred to as a ‘lucky bleeder’.
Recently I have suffered from mental illnesses. It struck me how ironic that my favourite ever band would be a word that can be intrinsically linked to such a state of mind. I am much better now and just the thought of seeing Madness at such close quarters and playing material only up until 1979 has had me in great spirits for days.
We arrive at the Electric Ballroom at 5pm to find ourselves second in the queue behind a young man called Ben who’s travelled from Surrey. Although this will be first experience of seeing Madness live, he explains that he’s attended 279 gigs in all. Good effort!
We head in to the Ballroom at 7pm prompt and head straight to the barrier to get the optimum view. DJ Darren Bennett warms up the crowd with his usual array of classic ska cuts. Jerry Dammers is on fine form for his set playing some obscure tunes from the likes of Eddie Grant, Georgie Fame & The Specials, a demo from their Coventry Automatic days, I believe.
At just after 9pm our heroes stride purposefully on stage, suitably attired more casually than usual. In particular Bedders in his sta-pressed and Fred Perry style t alongside him Chrissy Boy in a black & white 2-tone styled shirt, is also looking relaxed and ready. Woody is already at his drums; Barso suited up at the keys is ready to go. Thommo strolls on. It’s a version of 1979 and Thommo wants to look the part so naturally he’s got a rather fetching syrup on his bonce plus straw hat. Lord Suggs follows on stage, suited up too, as the band are taking almighty applause from an expectant crowd.
Madness kick off with One Step Beyond cos, well, we need warming up don’t we?! From that point onwards we are going to be part of this amazing event. The next 30 minutes is only either album tracks from OSB or early b-sides. To hear the likes of Believe Me, In The Middle of the Night, Land of Hope & Glory, Mistakes, You Said and Razor Blade Alley in the same glorious set is a real treat.
From our standing point I pay particular attention to Chrissy Boy & Bedders. Both of them providing the excellent rhythm section, tune after tune. During Tarzan’s Nuts, having exchanged the opening lines with Chrissy Boy, Thommo is wandering around stage whilst ad-libbing a variety of phrases and noises in the close proximity of Bedders. Thommo sings “The sweatiest bass player” whilst Bedders remains as focussed as possible while Thommo playfully mops his brow!
Mummy’s Boy gets an airing; Suggs suitably changes the original lyric to “She was young & he was 30”.
Between songs and odd cigarette break, on stage and at the mic, Suggs tells us “I think this cigarette is costing us another 3 grand!”.
Perhaps my favourite moment is when Suggs seems to be in that enjoyment zone where suddenly he sings out “whoo-ah!”. The crowd respond back. It’s a call and response – Suggs says “ I’ve never done this before – Whoo-ah!”. We repeat back “whoo-ah!”.
Next thing we know it’s the opening bars of The Young And The Old complete, of course, with more “Whoo-ah!”. Absolutely brilliant!
The band complete the set having played most, if not all, of OSB. We get an encore of Madness & Night Boat To Cairo to round off an astonishing set where all six of our band have played a huge part in yet another amazing gig during this 40th year of celebrations.
After the gig, I get to speak to Ben who has had a thoroughly enjoyable night even being lucky enough to receive a pair of slightly knackered glasses off Thommo. Lucky fans are clutching set lists and super fan Sharon has one of Woody’s drumsticks!
Six months ago I simply wouldn’t have been able to attend this gig down the front. I am lucky. I have overcome my illness with amazing support of family and friends. I dedicate this review to you all and if you are struggling with mental health issues yourself, I wish you lots of good luck.
And thank you Madness, for being best band in the world.
Electric Ballroom Set List
One Step Beyond
Stepping Into Line
Land of Hope and Glory
In the Rain
Tarzan’s Nuts (Chip Monks!)
Tears of a Clown
In The Middle of The Night
Deceives The Eye
The Young and The Old
Razor Blade Alley
Bed and Breakfast man
Rockin in Ab
Night Boat To Cairo
Winner of the Specialized Charity Auction
After waking up to having received numerous messages on Sunday 17th November from various FB pals that knew how much I wanted to be at the Ballroom after failing to get my tickets on the release day, after a tense few hours, at 2.00pm it was finally announced that Beefy & I had won the charity auction from Specialized, which meant we now both had guest-list entry to the Ballroom.
After having an already eventful music weekend with minimal sleep,I now had just a few hours to get myself up and together before heading into town for a night I’d only ever dreamed of in the last 40 years…Madness playing an old-style set, in an intimate venue.
The run up to it all over the past few weeks had made me feel a range of emotions, pure childlike happiness and excitement at first after finding out about the event, and wondering what gems would or could possibly be played for such a gig, knowing there’d soon be an opportunity to be part of a one-off experience that had now been publicly announced as definitely happening ,to some horribly raging disappointment after not being able to secure any tickets at all when the online sales started at 10.00am on the Friday 1st November, and it (understandably) just sold out in minutes!
If I do have a fairy god-mother then she undoubtedly wears boots and knows just how to step in and stomp her feet and help me get my arse in gear and make it happen whenever I truly want something in this life enough!
Arriving at Camden late Sunday afternoon and having a few (much needed) drinks, we made our way down to The Ballroom.
Being a bit of a sucker for little details, some things just gave the evening a real old-school vibe upon entry, when after getting our wrist-bands, we were then given a little token ticket, along with pin-badge and postcards, really nice unique touch, as its them little random bits of generosity that often mean the most (for me) when memory-making.
After a wonderful warm-up from Darren Bennett as well as ‘The General’ Jerry Dammers (amazing!!) on the decks, the night was soon ready to begin.
Starting it all off with OSB and then Nutty Theme, just then hearing the intro of ‘Stepping into line’ took me right back to my youth with a big child-like grin on my face, and here I was, in a jam-packed but cosy venue, watching it all and taking it all in with some of life’s loveliest people, and then on and on it went, with a repetitive ‘Oh my god, I bloody love this one’ being echoed all around me at the beginning of each tune, from the toe-tapping catchiness of ‘Deceives the eye’ to the gentle and attention catching tinkling of the keys from Mike doing ‘Swan lake’ ,as well as one of my all time faves that I never dreamed I’d ever get to hear live now, ‘Rockin’ in Ab’ and then before I knew it, the music was finished and the gig was over almost as suddenly and energetically as it had begun.
I’ve attended numerous gigs by various artists over the years, but last night’s, along with Madstock 92 is definitely up there in my top 3 of all time!
Although it really was a night to remember, and the band once again proved just how appreciative and in touch with their fans they truly are by putting on such a show for less than the price of a pint or a pack of fags,I also genuinely felt for the many that didn’t get tickets, as the feeling really was just like Madstock all over again, the energy, the love for the boys and all they’ve done and still do, and all the friendships that have been made over the years from a shared love of music and energy that’s so satisfyingly addictive.
The one real up-side from it all is that HOF is now just weeks away, with The Roundhouse gigs soon after, so many of us naturally are eagerly awaiting more, but then also the horrible realisation that one day, this just wont happen again, but as far as their XL year goes, it really has been one of the most outstanding ones for me, and in more ways than one!
Benjamin Monk. First madness gig. Electric Ballroom. November 2019
“A treat to be first in & on the barrier with the best fans, even as a first timer! Madness were of course electrifying, even when you don’t know most of the songs… for me, the highlight was the 1234 of Steppin’ Into Line, Believe Me, Mistakes, the absolute joy of Land Of Hope And Glory.
I had a constant smile on my face, which is something when you’ve been 3 hours in the November cold. Even nabbed Tommo’s sunglasses and a set list, currently pride of place by my bed. Gotta make a return visit – huge thanks to Jonathan and the gang.”
If you’ve still not had your fill of Electric Ballroom coverage then don’t despair. There are numerous uploads on video sharing site YouTube to keep you entertained.
Sit back relax and work your way through the below links.