Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 751 – Sunday 29th September to Saturday 5th October 2013
Hello and a very warm welcome to this week’s edition of the MIS Online Bulletin.
Following last night’s fantastic gig at London’s Alexandra Palace we’re certain that many of you are either still journeying home, or if you’ve managed to get home, are now recovering. We understand that at least one Madness fan decided to skip booking hotel accommodation, and following the gig ventured back into Camden where he partied the night through, before catching the first train home! We’re not quite sure how he did it, but Facebook posts from said individual indicate that he did indeed make it all the way though. Impressive stuff!
On to reviews of last night’s gig, and so far they’re thin on the ground. All being well, by the time next week comes around we’ll no doubt have a number of fan and press reviews featured. Don’t panic, we’re not totally without Ally Pally coverage, though, as thanks to the efforts of subscriber Tony Stratton we do have one review of last night’s show for you.
Enjoy the read!
Jon Young, Liz Hazelby, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts
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.
October 12th Esprit Arena, Duesseldorf, Germany
November 22nd – 25th House Of Fun Weekender, Minehead, UK
December 31st – Dublin – www.nyedublin.ie
For tickets see links via: www.madness.co.uk
Suggs My Life Story, the West End of London December Run.
December 1st – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
December 8th – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
December 15th – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
December 22nd – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra
October 2nd Brighton, Concorde 2
October 3rd Cardiff, Globe
October 4th St Albans, Arena
October 5th Norwich, Waterfront
October 18th Ipswich, Corn Exchange
October 25th Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
October 31st (Halloween) Jazz Cafe, Camden Town.
November 1st, Komedia, Bath
November 8th, headlining the Friday of Specialized, The Big One 2, Parkdean, Sandford, Dorset
See ticket links via: www.ltso.mis-online.net
*** NEW *** Thursday, 17th October, Chester, Telford Warehouse
Saturday, 19th October, Liverpool, East Village Arts Club
*** NEW *** Wednesday 23rd October, Birmingham, The Temple Institute
Thursday 24th October, Jazz Café, Camden Town, Book Launch
More info at: http://deafschoolmusic.com
If money’s currently burning a hole in your pocket then perhaps we can help with your dilemma.
The Magic Line Album
Signed T-shirt packages and a deluxe edition.
A range of Magic Brothers T-shirts, Polo Shirts are now available to buy.
The CD album is available via Amazon and the download via iTunes contains an interview with Phil Jupitus talking to Woody about the album. But if you buy the album via the official band site you can choose a signed option or bundle.
If you’ve a spare £75 and are really into the magic, then there are 25 packs going fast that include all of this….
The Magic Line Collectors Pack – Limited Edition of 25 includes; The Magic Line Signed CD Album. The Magic Line Digital Download. The Magic Line T Shirt. Woodys Drumsticks Signed. Nicks Guitar Paick Signed. Copy of Album Lyrics. “Thank You” Phone Call From Woody & Nick.
Physical items ship 30th September. Downloads available 30th September.
Our thanks go to Paul Smart for the above
The Blockheads Three Video Kickstarter
This project is to help fund three music videos as part of the band’s forthcoming new album and single releases.
Backing benefits include a thank you video from the band, signed photos, badges, a signed CD album, T-Shirt, stickers, video appearance, guest passes and more.
The Liberty Of Norton Folgate – Reissue on Salvo
This edition is retailing at just over £5.
Fu Man Chu 7” Single
Fu Man Chu has been made into a 7 inch vinyl single. Pressed as a limited run, and licensed for sale, it’s predominately created for the DJ Japan market. But ,if you want to grab one phone Rads on 07940293945 to confirm and you’ll be given the address to send money to.
£4.50 for one £7.50 for 2. Basically £3 each plus postage. Cheque to R Shand.
Pre-Order Available – Take it or Leave it Re-release With Soundtrack CD
Following the sell-out of the Gogglebox box set, the Madness movie has been sadly unavailable. From October 7th it’s back, thanks to those lovely people at Salvo sound and vision.
This is being re-released for the first time with a nearly complete soundtrack CD of all the tracks from the movie, including a couple of old rock and roll numbers by the original artists. Namely Fat’s Domino, and The Four Tops, along with all of Madness’s tracks which are heard throughout the movie.
There’s new packaging for this re-release which will be available from music stores and online outlets, for under a tenner. This release also and contains a booklet containing information about the film.
Mad Not Mad Fanzine – Summer 2013 Edition
Reviewed in issue 743 of the MIS, this latest edition of Ian Taylor’s Madness/Ska-zine spans a whopping 70 plus pages and features a CD covermount in the form of “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”, by Too Many Crooks.
Priced at a mere £5 delivered (for UK readers. Those oversees will need to check), this is amazing value for money and is absolutely bursting with content.
For order enquiries and more information, you can contact Ian Taylor of Mad Not Mad at email@example.com
Hopefully, the bigger response Ian gets the less of a wait we’ll have until the next issue surfaces!
Take Rock and Roll & Leave With Good Vibrations
We present a triple bill film suggestion, to take you away from where ever you are right now and onto a journey back to when the 70’s were
turning into the 80’s across the whole of the British Isles, and an era when the music that was emerging at that time was for many their king interest. Ska, Reggae and Rock and Roll and it’s roots past were all feeding into a new Punk do it yourself mode, in the pubs, clubs and record shops of the streets of Brit cities, and select radio shows. A time that birthed Madness. From their forebears to their contemporaries of the time. Sink back with me into life in that wider era…
SEX AND DRUGS AND ROCK AND ROLL
The biopic starring Andy Serkis, it’s cartoon and fantasy at times, and it tell’s a version of the late punk star’s life story as hist own retold tall tail from cripple to champion of the disabled. But watch it more for the depiction of Kilburn and The Highroads in a local gig, sink into a world of pub rock and pogoing gigs. I was there in Watford when they filmed some of the theatre concert scenes for this movie, and that setting there brings out the sense of excitement people experienced at gigs at this time. Music was the prime entertainment in a three channel TV world before home computers and mobile phones. And sometimes for some the world had it’s places to escape from through the tunes. The strange eccentricity of character line up’s on stage, and the dive in and get it done approach to creativity, is all there in this film. Pioneered by the do it on your doorstep world of pub rock, just before and onto the rise of independent labels like Stiff Records. Take this world as the first course, the wider background story, the world into which Madness would come and one of the main inspirations for the nutty sound to follow…
Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll Trailer
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT
Then enjoy the most relevant chapter, the birth of the nutty boys you’re favourite band. Re-released shortly or open your gogglebox up. From bedrooms with lifted LP’s to residencies in Camden Boozers, they follow the footsteps Dury, and alongside Ska-ing partners The Specials record The Prince on new 2tone label and break onto Radio one and the pop charts, but not with out arguments, gang fights, graffiti, dead end jobs, and struggles to hold it together. Watch this as the second layer course, one that so many of you will know and love by heart by now, It’s a classic that captures the environment of that first rung for a group as they form and make a hit, appreciate it now in a wider painted context of the band following that trail blazed before them onto the labels that birthed around them, does it seem an effortless overnight success, or the culmination of something, could anyone do what they did at that time? Could it happen anywhere?
Take It Or Leave It
A new biopic released this year, of a record shop and independent record label. The story of the man at the centre of it, who gave John Peel his favourite ever record in the form of The Undertones – Teenage Kicks. In Ireland in a time known locally as The Troubles with civil religious political war and terrorism splitting and scaring a divided country, the Belfast punk scene thrives for a brief bright moment. Some would rather be defined by their music choice. The excitement of the first single, the radio play the success or struggles, of jumping in the back of the van, and touring, before the studio beckons It all happens here too as it did to Madness or Dury, and the effect of a HIT, see here for contrast how a Jerry Dammers/Dave Robinson style entrepreneur at the centre of things copes with the same times in the wider world of music, but with a much different local world set against it, and the fate of bands in that ulster punk scene vs our own nutty boys, along with a moment or two in the early career of their later collaborating friend Feargal Sharkey. It’s a funny, touching film to end, full of passion for the music of those times, but where take it or leave it is tempered with less sensationalism in almost documentary style, or Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll is eccentrically painted in broad strokes, this film is more realistic, except for capturing the internal of what music mean pretty well too. Look out especially for the best slo mo falling in love with new song moment ive ever seen in a movie.
Watch all three parts and imagine how a stiff records movie might come across with all these kinds of roles occurring together in one film, count some London blessings to, and our lads luck, timing, and hard efforts, and what got them there, but most of all remember a time when music was a way of life. Turn off the TV and put some tunes on and really appreciate them as you pogo round your living room. Take some Rock and Roll and leave with good vibrations.
I REMEMBER WAY BACK WHEN
This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby, goes back 5 years to issue 491, and the week of Sunday 28th September to Saturday 4th October 2008, and then back 10 years to issue 229 and the week of Sunday 28th September to Saturday 4th October 2003.
5 years ago…
Issue 491 – Sunday 28th September to Saturday 4th October 2008
With this year’s Madchart readers may have been wondering what we had to fill its space. Well, we asked you not panic as this issue we were running a full transcription of an interview which took place with the one and only Dave Robinson, during the previous year’s Madness Weekender in Blackpool.
The whole thing had been painstakingly transcribed by Vince Carden, and for those of you who weren’t there we thought you’d find it a truly fascinating read.
Along with that we featured news on the last few dates of the Our House musical tour, a lowdown on the Nutty Forum’s “Nutty Radio”, a transcript from a 1985 issue of Hitkrant, which had been transcribed and translated by Tour Madness editor Jermaine.
Elsewhere we had details of a number of new downloads available via the MIS Online web site, and finished off by reminding you to listen to the latest episode of Nutty Radio, which was due to go out this evening.
10 years ago…
Issue 229 – Sunday 28th September to Saturday 4th October 2003.
With the Great Yarmouth Madness Weekender just a drunken memory for those who attended, pictures were already starting to crop up online. These proved to be useful for those who were present, as they helped to fill in the gaps, while those who were unable to get along, could at least get a chance to see what they missed out on.
Moving on, and news in from MIS subscriber, Birchy, was that the legendary Terry Hall, of the Specials, had teamed up with mixing band ‘Dub Pistols’ who release a single on the 29th Sept called ‘Problem Is’.
According to Birchy;
“This song is getting great reviews & currently is XFM’s most requested song, it is also being said that it sounds like a modern day version of The Specials ‘Ghost Town'”
Still getting his head straight after two days of solid drinking in Great Yarmouth, MIS co-editor, Jonathan Young still found time to let us know that The Blockheads were about to release their first album following the sad passing away of lead singer Ian Dury.
Entitled “Where’s the Party”, the album would feature 13 tracks, and all being well, would be available to purchase before Christmas.
“Save our venue!” was the cry, when news reached us revealing that the world famous Electric Ballroom, in Camden Town, had been earmarked for destruction by the local council, to make way for a massive expansion to the creaking tube network. Here’s what the Electric Ballroom web site had to say at the time;
“The Electric Ballroom is at the heart of Camden Town’s bustling community and has been a key part of it since it’s early days over 40 years ago. It began as a busy Irish club playing host to a wide variety of performers including the likes of Jim Reeves.
In the past decades Sid Vicious, Madness, The Clash, George Thorogood and the Smiths have drawn huge crowds to the venue.
The most recent performers have included Blink 1-8-2, Reel Big Fish, Seafood, Dead Kennedys, Beth Orton, Blur and Garbage.
As you may have heard, London Underground want to re-develop the site that The Electric Ballroom has occupied for over 50 years, into a new station, shoppingmall, offices and flats. The Electric Ballroom has been an important stepping stone for many musicians past and present and has entertained generations of people.
Please show your support by leaving your name on our petition”.
Over the following months celebs such as Mike Edwards from Jesus Jones, Boy George, Dame Judi Dench, and our very own Suggs, would voice their concerns over the council’s plans to demolish this famous and much-loved North London music venue.
And finally, with new album launches costing hundreds of thousands of pounds to promote, The Blockheads decided that they’d need to do something to try and give their forthcoming album a chance.
Announcing the Blockhead presentation pack, this would weigh in at £40.00, and would get you the following;
– Brand new 2003 instrumental recordings of “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”, “Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3” and “What A Waste” – complete with Karaoke style lyric sheets,
– Exclusive Black on White Blockhead badge that is your (+ 1 guest) guaranteed backstage pass to see the band after selected shows
– Signed photograph of the band
– Guaranteed invite to new album and book launches
– 20% off ALL purchases in The Block Shop (our online store)
– EXCLUSIVE!! – Only you will have the chance to purchase “From The Vaults” – a limited edition series of unreleased tracks from the 1977-2000 archives.
– £40.00 per year (Inc VAT and P&P) – Give yourself or the Blockhead in your life a treat!
LIVE AND INTENSIFIED
Reviews and write-ups of live gigs. You’ll find them here.
Madness, L’Olympia Bruno Coquatrix, Paris, Mon 16th September
Monday 16 September presented me with an opportunity I was not going to miss for the world. Madness were booked to play the L’Olympia Bruno Coquatrix, Paris, a venue I know all too well having seen Lee and Chris’ band The Nutty Boys play there in 1991 and Madness play there as The Dangermen in 2005. That 2005 show was (and still is) in my top 2 or 3 favourite Madness shows. I think I’ve made it clear that I’m not a fan of The Dangermen Sessions album, but the live performances of those songs was a totally different matter. Enjoyable, energetic and frenetic would be three words to describe those shows. Exhausting was another. The sound at L’Olympia is one of the best you’ll find anywhere and the atmosphere amongst the French fans is simply electric. Look around a bit and you’ll see that many bands have recorded live albums and or DVDs there.
It also presented me with another opportunity. The 2005 trip had been my first go on the Eurostar and Channel Tunnel (which presumably UKIP would like filled in?). Living in Kent I also get to regularly travel on part of the railway line called High Speed 1 (HS1) when going into London. This gave me an idea. A little to the west of where I live is a preservation railway called The Bluebell Line. For years it ran from Sheffield Park in Sussex north to a station called Kingscote. Its path any further towards London being blocked by a huge amount of 60s and 70s waste as the railway’s cutting had been filled in by landfill. Finally in 2013 the landfill was cleared and rails were laid further north to East Grinstead to join the mainline to London Victoria. Being a founder member of a loose band of Madness fans jokingly called Trainspotters I am the sort of person who would choose to travel to a Madness gig in Paris by heading to Sheffield Park by car, getting the steam train to East Grinstead and then the mainline train to London Victoria so I could catch a tube to St Pancras International to get the Eurostar to Paris. The same Eurostar that sometimes stops at a station called Ebbsfleet, which is roughly 15 miles from my flat… None of this explains the original use of Trainspotters to describe Madness fans, but I like steam (and disused) railways as well as Madness. My journey was undertaken a day ahead of the Madness gig.
It was on reaching St Pancras and boarding the Paris train that it all started to go wrong. I found my seat, put my phone and a magazine on the fold down table in front of me and stretched up to put my baggage on the rack above my seat. I then sat down and folded the table down to have a look at the photos I’d taken so far on my phone. Except I couldn’t. The glass of my touch screen phone was totally smashed. It had survived numerous dropping incidents but hadn’t been dropped today. I then noticed the phone was kinked. You guessed it: when the table folded up it had bent the phone and stretched the glass just enough to break it. We all rely on our phones too much don’t we? We probably take them for granted too. It dawned on me that my phone had all the details of my hotel on it. With several emails and a text reminder I’d decided I didn’t need to know the name of my hotel, or the name of the street it was in. After all it was just round the corner from the Gare Du Nord and Google Mapping would take care of showing me the route when I got there.
Arrival in Paris with no Euros, no phone, no directions no real idea where I was going and only a very limited ability to speak French meant one thing: I’d have to walk around the streets around the Gare Du Nord and hope to find my destination by a process of elimination. There then followed an increasingly desperate walk around until I was sure I was in the right street. This desperation turned into the right sulks when I realised I had walked the length of this street twice and had still not found a hotel whose name appeared familiar. Sitting down to smoke a ciggie at this point I looked across the street and noticed that the building opposite me was actually two hotels and one of them had the logo of the website I’d used to make my booking. A quick check with the friendly receptionist later and I was in. Now all I had to do was get some money, some food and some sleep and then try to find the venue for our French cousins’ mad-meet.
The hotel was a hell hole. I knew it wasn’t en suite when I booked. What I didn’t know was that it was being renovated. The bedroom next to mine was being rebuilt. Opposite it was the shower room. At least that’s what the fire emergency map said. In reality it was bricked up. The same applied to the floor above. The bed was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever slept on and the whole place was full of building dust. Paris never sleeps and it would seem the drivers of this glorious city use their car horns as indicators. With all this in mind the cockroaches and bedbugs had all moved out…
Monday. Gig day. Good news: already knew where L’Olympia was and how to get there on foot as I’d stayed around the Gare Du Nord in 2005 too. All I had to do was find out how my football team had fared on Sunday whilst I was on the train, get some breakfast and then make my way to Molly Malone’s bar to meet Mad Iky et al. Simple really. All the details were on my phone and on Facebook. So I used the hotel’s internet machine in the lobby. 1 Euro for 10 minutes. Easy. Log into Facebook and get the address. Nope. Password incorrect was followed by 9 minutes of trying to retrieve my password. I failed and went back to bed. This was a risky strategy. My phone was my only means of telling the time.
Waking again at around noon I made myself decent (as much as you can with a toilet and hand basin as your only amenities) and headed out. It’s often said that the main topic of conversation for us Englishmen is the weather. This proved correct. As soon as I left the hotel I realised I needed my Pac-a-mac. Having retrieved it from my room and set off the rain stopped and the sun came out. I put my sunglasses on and the sun went in. Normal glasses were retrieved and the coat was taken off. This pattern repeated a couple of times until I reached Place De L’Opera. This is like Paris’ equivalent of Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and The Royal Albert Hall merged into one beautiful location where one can sit and watch the beautiful people walk past. The constant traffic noise and confusion makes the music to watch girls by. L’Olympia is one street away from this little haven. After a quick sit down for a ciggie and a rest I headed off to the venue. On reaching it I was greeted by the large sign above the entrance proclaiming MADNESS and the Seeeds. I’d have taken a photo if I hadn’t busted my phone. In 2005 the street adjacent to this entrance had seen the mad meet right opposite the stage door. I wandered down wondering if I might meet any other fans or perhaps a band member or two. It started to rain…
I spent the next half hour huddled under the arch that takes vehicles into the bowels of the theatre and the adjacent car park. It looked like The Rain and The Rain would be more apt for tonight’s show. Everyone who arrived or walked past was soaked and bedraggled. I began to rue the fact that I needed to wander the local rues looking for Molly Malone’s. Eventually the rain eased off enough that I decided it was now or never. A few wrong turnings and a while walking later I saw my first Madness fans of the day, including a bloke who was very sharply dressed. I was sure I recognised him, but I never knew his name. He was walking in the opposite direction to me. This made me doubt I would find the mad meet. But find it I did, albeit an hour early and the first one there in a largely deserted bar.
The barman spoke English and I was sure after a quick conversation that he had spoken to Iky about the mad meet. I think he phoned Iky and told him to hurry up and join me. I nursed a Guinness and watched a full match reply of the worst football match I’ve ever seen on the bar’s screens. It would seem that French football is no better than the rubbish I am currently watching from the bottom of league one in England. Eventually Iky arrived sporting a Mad DogsTour t shirt and a French accent I could not get my head around. Despite his limited English and my limited French we hit it off and had a discussion about our love of Madness and Lee Thompson’s lyrics in particular. Iky was certain that he can tell if Lee has written the lyrics as soon as he hears a new Madness song. The discussion was going very well until I admitted that I don’t like Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da very much. We’d got past me explaining that Madness are my favourite band even though I don’t think they are the best band in the world. Liking something is partially illogical. Being the best at something can to some extent be judged or proven. So there you have it, Madness are my favourite band but Oui Oui is not my favourite album by them and I definitely think it is down towards their worst. It’s certainly not their best or anywhere near it. It has one or three highlights, but one needs to explore disc two of the deluxe version to truly appreciate it.
Gradually more fans turned up. Many were introduced to me and recognised my name from my mad rantings in this very organ. I find it quite embarrassing being praised for my stuff so I am pleased to be able to pass on some thanks also to those who do so much more such as Jon Young, Robert Hazelby and Liz Maher. Others named included Looby for her tireless transcription work. Fans seemed shocked by my confession that my chart write ups nearly always feature facts that I simply make up. Not the Madness ones you understand. No the ones such as Matt Bianco to receive the Brit Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of 30 years since that kid phoned up Saturday Morning telly to tell them they were a bunch of wankers or Let Loose to get the Brit Icon Award. As youi’ll see later it will appear that Suggs has now followed my lead into this field of barbed white lies. So hello and thanks also to Iky’s cousin, French (Marie?) Claire, Mister B and Marc Voisin (this was the guy I’d spotted a few hours earlier) and all the others whose names I can’t recall.
I decided to head back out to L’Opera in search of food. And I wanted to buy a watch as I was getting nervous about not knowing the time. Paris is known for its culinary delights but I copped out and headed to MacDonald’s after buying myself a new Swatch horologe. A brisk walk back to the mad meet and I realised I’d taken a wrong turn at the wrong time. Iky and Marc were eagerly showing their phones to anyone who wanted to see. Fresh digital images showed them with various assorted members of Madness taken at the cafe right next to the theatre. A cafe I’d just walked past twice. As per usual it would seem the band were only too happy to be photographed and sign autographs on records or CDs old and new for these fans. Another reason why they are my favourites…
Soon it was time to head to the venue, a mere 5 minutes away. One last attempt to sell my spare ticket outside was given up as there were too many touts on duty to make it worthwhile stepping on their turf and an unused ticket is a nice souvenir sometimes.
We headed in down the long passageway to the foyer and bar area before stepping through into a packed stalls area. Converted to allow standing there seemed no point in trying to get to the front, so I stayed more or less where I walked in, right at the back under the balcony. The view was good, a bit like watching a widescreen film with the letterbox effect on telly. The crowd is very mixed. All age groups are here from kids who look under 10 with their parents right through to the golden oldies. Or at least they will be when Madness arrive on stage. The lights dim. We hear to be or not to be and then the only performance that really makes it and then one by one the band arrive on stage to a rapturous welcome. Cathal grabs the mic, puts it to his lips and becomes Chas Smash: “Hey you don’t watch that….” by now he is drowned out by a very vocal French crowd. Woody hits the first two beats on the drumsticks and it’s pandemonium. If you don’t believe me check the you tube videos which will back me up on this. Some are very clean and give a great perspective of the band’s performance. Others are rough as hell from mobile phone which can’t handle the volume, but which convey the atmosphere of the place. This is my favourite for reasons I’ll return to later… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_QmZA5GZ9o
Before I go I must mention that this is the first gig I’ve seen with Bedders back. Having recently taken in a stray cat and renamed him after him it is truly great to see the Magnificent Seven ride again. For me this is the first time since 2009. Maybe Madstock 5 or maybe the Camden Crawl gig in Inverness Street. Either way it is great to have him back doing his thing…
The show follows the same setlist as presented by Arnold Stap for last week’s review of the Saturday night show at Applepop so there is no need for me to reproduce it in full. As is often the case Suggs’ banter with the crowd is one of the highlights of the show. One wonders how much of it was lost on the mostly French speaking crowd, but the sound quality was so good in this place that even right at the back in a space with the ceiling below the balcony above me I could hear his every word. Some of the jokes seemed new to me, but they might not be. Suggs’ delivery of these pearls of wisdom seems to have improved since his one man show theatre experience so we’re in for a fun night.
The French chaps from the bar are convinced it will be a standard Madness setlist. I’m not so sure. Mindful of the success of The Dangermen Sessions in France I’m expecting at least a nod to that album by way of thanks to the French. The first six songs are predicted correctly by Iky, who seems delighted with himself. The fourth of these, NW5, goes down an absolute storm, proving that a good song is a good song wherever you are and whether or not it was a massive hit. My Girl and My Girl 2 fly by before the band launches into Take It Or Leave It. My enjoyment of this song was boosted massively by Lee and Chris frequently playing it when they were touring as The Nutty Boys and tonight’s performance is a stonking one.
Having brought both with them the band will then surge through The Sun And The Rain with plenty of audience participation on the doo da doos at the end. Chris’s guitar solo sounds fantastic here and I can definitely hear things that usually get lost in the fuzz of live speakers and bigger venues. Shame my feet, legs and back are beginning to hurt from the previous day’s walking…
A fantastic stab at How Can I Tell You (showing the huge improvement to the Madness live sound that Lee’s additional backing vocals on the chorus bring) is followed by The Dangermen Sessions interlude. It is brief but sheer quality as Iron Shirt and Taller Than You Are excite the crowd. The familiar themed ending to Taller Than You Are is The Marseillaise and goes down a storm once a wave of realisation washes over the crowd. We are now fully into the mutual appreciation society.
There then follows some banter between Suggs and Mike Barson as Barson has apparently requested a Sake. His demands are holding the show up. Suggs then informs us that fuelled by such drinks old men have been denying their age by frequenting late night discotheques. There’s a certain amount of popcorn in Suggs ribbing Barson for late night ligging. Barson eventually has had enough and hits back with a claim that he wrote Never Knew Your Name when he was 15. This song surprises me. It was a mainstay on French radio and TV for roughly 6 months earlier this year, but it seems to go down no better or worse than anything else Madness play tonight.
Suggs then has a brief conversation with Woody that hints that there may be a new rift in the band. Suggs: “Woody Woods Woodgate what’s the next song?”; Woody: “Shut up!”; Suggs: “I only asked what song we’re playing next!”; Woody: “Shut Up!”. And with that we’re off… The next song is introduced by Suggs appearing to poke fun at certain French stereotypes (ones which entirely fit my hotel!). In England we have all sorts of mod cons he explains. Doors, windows… Nervous laughter follows in the crowd as we expect him to move on to bathroom facilities, but Suggs shifts the mood by telling us that some houses even come complete with a mate who won’t go home until he’s had a sleep and his breakfast. Cue more pandemonium and much French singing of the “football bit”, as Barson apparently calls it, on the non choruses. It’s clear that it is not only the UK that this should have been a massive hit single.
Misery is swiftly followed by Leon, which is given a decent intro by Suggs who tells us that Woody doesn’t just play the drums, he writes songs too. Woody will later agree with me that not only is it “good live” but that “we enjoy playing it”. Well I enjoy them playing it too. Several of the punters in the bar have singled out Leon as being one of the best tracks on Oui Oui and I can’t disagree. I love it. It later strikes me that Madness songs had a strong thread of introducing named characters. Leon fits nicely into that little world.
Suggs then gives us a lengthy intro to tonight’s special guest. In Britain we have a very special TV show called The X Factor and the band are delighted to be joined by this year’s winner. Expectation, confusion and worry are replaced by laughter as the winner is announced as “Chrissy Boy Foreman”. The Showtime which follows leaves me thinking maybe I’m seeing things, but also later told I’d missed things. Chris takes centre stage and speaks a little French to the crowd before telling us in English about a bloke up on the balcony who has been reporting the gig’s attendance on Twitter and Facebook. This will apparently have the promoter in trouble as the band knows exactly how many people are there! He then returns to the matter in hand and offers the crowd a chanson…
Apparently reading from a scrap of paper on a monitor he begins to mumble some strange lyrics in a frankly tuneless manner. Even more strangely to me the crowd begin to cheer and sing along. Suddenly the penny drops… this is La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf. I won’t realise until later that Lee has joined in on drums and is offering a very basic beat on Woody’s cymbals. Chris winds up by asking the crowd if they are ready to rumble in French and asking them to scream loudly. ‘David’ is asked how many people have screamed. Am I seeing things? No you tube just confirmed that Bedders returned to the stage at this point on a scooter (Lee and Chas will later also have goes that I definitely saw!). It’s just dawned on me that Chris used to have a French wife. Perhaps she too tired of him singing this song complete with lyrics such as “mange tout Rodney”. It’s fitting that Chris says “Anyway enough mucking about” just as Bedders scoots by behind him and back t his bass base.
I must confess that by now I am seriously regretting all the walking I did yesterday, wearing my DMs for nearly two days solid and not getting a seat for this gig. My back is already knackered, I’ve not been able to work for 6 years and I have spinal cord damage (ironically named after its French-Mauritian discoverer Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard who was noted for his works on paralysis and the carriage of pain and heat sensation within the fibres of the spinal cord. And for eating monkey balls and making spurious claims about them, which were later deemed to have been a placebo effect. Shame I could do with them being of genuine medial effect. Tarzan’s Nuts indeed!). My feet, lower legs and back were killing me and I just wanted the show over.
My back did not need the storming renditions of House Of Fun, Baggy Trousers and Our House that were to follow. Earlier I referred to a you tube video that evinced the mental atmosphere pulsing through the crowd. Take a look at it as it reaches Our House and you will see just what I mean… At roughly 2 minutes 10 you’d be excused for being sure this was a London crowd. The sound is muffled and the camera is shaky but the crowd who can be seen have the place completely rocking. You’ll just have to believe me that those of us under the balcony who can’t be seen were rocking too, albeit only in spirit in my case!
Much speculation has been made about why Madness are not truly world famous instead of being latterly adopted as National Treasures, but the show time section illustrates that Madness have more than enough universal hits to have been big hitters on the world stage. It’s not the usual nonsense about the songs being ‘too English’. We’re in France for Nuts’ sake. Never more has my t shirt of choice, a rather faded and getting tatty grey Fuck Art Lets Dance one, been more apt. It Must Be Love is for me what it always is… my time to think of my nan and grandad in public surrounded by people who love the same things I love and genuinely in the company of a band I’ve loved since 1979. Ok so we’re only in the same theatre and we’re separated by a thousand or so people and a barrier, but we’re in this together. Even when the intro goes somewhat awry as Suggs tells a confused audience how the song is very special to the band and that he hears it is used in France to sell furniture the crowd laughs as Barso goes round again. Perhaps Suggs will remember to sing this time?
At the end the band leave the stage appearing genuinely touched at the reception they’ve received tonight. It goes without saying that there will be an encore, but the band still makes the crowd shout, clap and whistle for it. Never mind these are all things the crowd are more than happy to do.
A pared down two songs is all we get, but as the saying goes always leave the fans wanting more so Madness becomes Night Boat To Cairo which includes the “It was a party refrain”. I know that is hardly unique, but it does still seem to only come out when the gig has been a proper proper proper proper party. The lights start to come up as Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life plays over the speakers. Suggs and Cathal do their little dance and then stroll off Eric and Ernie style evoking more in 5 seconds of the Bring Me Sunshine dance than the painfully unfunny Miranda Hart will if she lives to be 143.
I drag my tired aching body towards the exit and wait outside for my new friends as I hear Molly Malone’s bar is expecting us back. As I stand drained of energy and in pain in the street a couple approach me looking a little mad (why not?) the bloke holds out his hand and says “hello Paul” in his thick Yorkshire accent. It can’t be, but it is John Thrippleton and his Mrs Caz. Why can’t it be? Well I’ve not seen them for nearly 20 years. Oh and the small matter that they live in America now. This is one of the great joys of the Madness gig. I’ll always go along expecting to meet up with mates, but I’ll always bump into others completely by chance. Even if I’m in Paris and neither party knew the other was going. Our reunion was all too brief. They are in Paris with his wife’s work and she has to be up early on Tuesday, so they pop off and I head back to Molly Malone’s with Claire and Iky and Iky’s cousin (whose name I still can’t remember) and others from the gig for a lemonade. We re-live the gig almost immediately and decide it was a brilliant show albeit a bit short.
Just before the Metro shuts down Claire tells me how to use it (the map makes no sense to me) and gives me some free tickets. She puts me on the correct platform just before the final train. I am to head for line 7 (I think I can remember that) and then line 4 (not so easy) and I get back to my hotel with my legs only hurting a tiny bit more than they were when I left the bar. All my previous trips to Paris have seen me walk or drive. Now I can use the Metro just like the other 4 people on the two trains I took back to the Gare Du Nord.
Back at my hotel I check and find I don’t have to check out of my hell-hole room until noon, which then gives me one hour to get to the Gare Du Nord, whic his just over the road. Sleep will come difficult tonight. It’s not easy when your feet are throbbing and your back is killing you and it’s even harder when it happens to me! I get there in the end…
Tuesday I get up, pack and leave for the station. There’s just time to be conned by a beggar using the fake gold ring scam, but by now I care not. The 3.67 or so in Euro coins are of no use to me now as I already have chocolate, cheese, French stick and ciggies. She asks for my English coins, so I tell her abruptly that I will need them when I get back to England.
The Eurostar back is notable for only two things: firstly I fall asleep and wake myself up during a world record (or so it seemed to me) snore that the whole carriage looked like they heard. Embarrassed I try to stay awake the rest of the way back. The other notable thing is that my train stops at Ebbsfleet, which I wasn’t expecting. After my madcap journey to Paris it is with some irony that I knock off 30 minutes from my trip back by getting a train home from Ebbsfleet instead of St Pancras. I’m already dreaming of the next time Madness play L’Olympia, but first Ally Pally…
Next week in part two I’ll detail the insurance claim on my phone…
Northants County Cricket Ground, 16th September
On a warm sunny September Sunday afternoon we made the relatively short trip from north London to Northants CC to see Madness for the last of their scheduled outdoor summer gigs. Outside the venue I notice a ticket booth selling the last remaining tickets. Upon arrival I get my merch – a Take It Or Leave t and a Gladness t. We are then – ahem – treated to the luxury of drinking beer out of a 2 pint pot. A novel idea!
The weather is very kind in so much there is no breeze and just before Madness are due to be on stage we are informed that this is their first ever concert at the venue so perhaps we should be concerned about the acoustics? Not a chance – for both support bands the sound quality is spot on.
Local band The Big Head are warmly received and deserve their chance in front of a big crowd. By The Rivers, who I saw at both Newark for Madness and at the Folkestone Ska Festival put in a very good set Just right to warm us up for the finest band that this, or any other planet, has ever seen.
At 8.45pm the band are on stage and we are placed just behind the usual mosh pit. The capacity is 12,000 and we must easily have more than 10,000 watching tonight. With this my 8th Madness gig since June, the band stick to their summer set which rarely changed, just moving the odd song around in the set list early on. NW5 is a soaraway joyous Madness classic; Take It Or Leave It has the crowd stomping away and the sound quality and acoustics being so good make this a top, top quality event. Both these songs get nudged slightly earlier in the set.
Mike is playing keyboards with supreme ease and brilliance in equal measure, adding an occasional off-beat surprise note here and there just to keep us on our toes. He looks suave too – bedecked in a classic white suit topped with white pork pie hat. Perhaps he was looking for a game of cricket?! Chrissy Boy is wearing a double breasted jacket with gold buttons and played away with his usual style.
Most bizarrely – no, not Lee – has to be Chas who at random moments, both during and between songs, would announce ‘cashier number 3 please’ or ‘cashier number 7 please’. I don’t know if it was an in band joke – each number representing a band member perhaps – but it was certainly different! I later move further away towards the back as the acoustics were that good and didn’t spoil my enjoyment.
Yet again Madness produce the goods and what a fantastic way to warm up for a Magic Madness weekend in Camden, Ally Pally and maybe even Barnet…
Set list in rough running order
One Step Beyond
My Girl 2
Take It Or Leave It
Never Knew Your Name
The Sun & The Rain
How Can I Tell You
Bed & Breakfast Man
SHOWTIME – New York, New York
House Of Fun
Wings Of A Dove
It Must Be Love
Night Boat To Cairo
A Day in the Life of Magic Launch and Madness
What a day, I have not long got back from London.
For me the day kicked off at the Dublin Castle the magic brothers album launch I arrived to a posse of madness fans including Jon Young eagerly awaiting the doors of the Dublin Castle to open.
Once we was inside there was one thing on the agenda. `Gladness` I wouldnt be surprised if by mid-afternoon they ran out. Within about 10 mins Iu looked rounbd and every table was lined up with bottles of Gladness.
By 11:30 the special guests aka Woody & Nick arrived and it was down to business with the signings of the albums and other merchandise ie photos posters while the album played in the background.
I think the numbers of people turning up was under-estimated as the queue seemed like it wasn’t going to end.
I managed to get to chat with Woody and Nick separately I will reveal what Woody and I spoke about regarding any special tracks to be played that night at Ally Pally.
I didn’t go to the special fans recording of an Our House at Ally Pally for 2 reasons I didn’t receive the invitation form as my mum got me the ticket and 2 the Spurs match was on at the Dublin Castle on the TV so I stayed and watched the match. Dear oh dear I hear you say.
Anyway on to Ally Pally and what a fabulous setting for what is likely to be the only London gig before the end of the year.
The setlist was fantastic, a guest appearance from John Hasler on stage during Bed and Breakfast man and as talked about with Woody the inclusion of Disappear which was written about Ally Pally, other songs including `Take it or leave it` a slowed down version of `Swan Lake` during the encore. Overall a fantastic gig at an awesome venue to end a great day.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
Various articles that have caught our eye over the past week or so…
Madness Live in Concert at The Dominion Theatre, 1983
BBC 6 Music, With thanks to Mark Doherty for the heads-up
Madness, recorded at London’s Dominion Theatre in 1983. Presented by Chris Dawkins. Length: 60 minutes.
Take it or Leave it: Madness Roll Back The Clock on Screen Debut
Stereoboard.com, Fri 27th September
Camden Town’s an odd one. Previously a haven for outcasts, the place has now become something of a parody. Once proud and unique, it’s now an imitation of past glories. The whole damn lot has been commercialised to kingdom come, and even the markets now look as if they were planted there by a seedy businessman. The place has lost its rough, grimy charm.
Full article: http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/181743/9
Brilliant Madness Turn County Ground Into a House of Fun
Northampton Chronicle, Mon 23rd September
Thousands of people packed into the County Ground in Northampton on Sunday night to watch legendary ska band Madness.
Suggs and the rest of the Nutty Boys treated a huge crowd at the home of Northants Cricket to a brilliant show.
Full article: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/what-s-on/brilliant-madness-turn-county-ground-into-a-house-of-fun-1-5516801
Woody From Madness Speaks About New Solo Project
FredPerrySubculture.com, Sept 2013
Madness Drummer, Woody very kindly found time to talk to us about his debut solo release with his brother, Nick Woodgate – who together are recording under the name Magic Brothers. We discuss the influences that helped form ‘The Magic Line’ (out September 30th), the legacy of Madness and weekends at Butlins, amongst other things.
Full article: http://www.fredperrysubculture.com/music-news/8789/woody-from-madness-speaks-about-new-solo-project#sthash.cOHIfG3L.dpuf
Before we go we just want to give those of you planning to see Madness in Dublin this new year’s eve. Tickets are now on sale and are priced at a very respectable €25 (about £21) and a booking charge of €2.50.
As Vince Carden, who emailed in with the news told us, “Cheapest price for a Madness gig I’ve attended since the £20 to get into the three Folgate launch shows at Hackney Empire back in 2008. Don’t expect USB wristband recordings of the gig or Pearly Kings and Queens though!”
Vince also tells us that having just bought his ticket you automatically get sent a PDF link where you can download and print your ticket off. This means that there’s no waiting around wondering if your ticket has been dispatched or not.
For more information go to: www.nyedublin.ie and http://www.nyedublin.ie/festival-schedule/countdown-concert
Get in quick as these tickets are bound to sell out fast.
Have a good week!
Simon Roberts, Jon Young, Liz Hazelby, Rob Hazelby
(with thanks to Paul Rodgers, Mick Berry, Mark Doherty,
Tony Stratton, Vince Carden and Daren West)