Thursday, February 5, 2009
The last concert I went to was Madness.
While they only ever had one or two hits in the US, Madness was, is and probably will be huge in the UK. They are the only band to have created an earthquake that registered on the Richter scale. To know why, you probably need to watch the "One Step Beyond" and "Baggy Trousers" videos. They're on youtube. Go on, I'll wait...
Okay, now you understand. Thousands of people doing that will create an earthquake. It happened during the first Madstock, and they've been doing them ever since. No more earthquakes, though.
A Madness concert is one great big party. I have never seen such a variety of people at a concert. From Grandfathers to leather-clad bikers, from seven year olds to the rest of their family, and everyone proud to be there. No skulking in the shadows.
Madness are a phenomenon. Describing them as a ska band, is like calling the Rolling Stones a rock n' roll band. At the centre is a brilliant songwriting team and a love of ska, especially in the person of Prince Buster. Seeing Suggs, the lead singer and songwriter, singing "Enjoy Yourself" with the one and only Prince Buster on TV a couple of years ago was magic.
Madness don't care about image, don't care about cool, don't care about anything except having a good time and making sure other people have one too. The carefully crafted songs make them a quality band, the dancing and the lyrics with 'bouncing ball' so you can join in make them fun. There is no pretension here, no desire to do anything except be Madness. That's what makes their concerts extra special, and make them a must-see band. Or a must-party band.
Now you've seen a couple of their videos, go and watch some more. You've heard their mantra, one every self-respecting Briton knows off by heart (try it sometime, see if they do).
"Hey you, don't watch that, watch this. This is the heavy heavy monster sound, the nuttiest sound around. So if you've come in off the street, and you're beginning to feel the heat, well listen, buster, you'd better start to move your feet."
No, I didn't have to look that up.