There are some things in this world that you can always rely on.
It’s a cliche, but it’s true. You will always, for instance, find that you’re approximately ten pence short of the bus fare when you pull out your purse. When you go to take that terrible pair of ill-fitting jeans back to the shop, you’ll generally find that you’ve left the receipt at home. If you decide to leave your umbrella at home on a cloudy day, it will inevitably start raining.
We suppose that that what we’re trying to say is that, in real life, it’s not always fun to be able to rely on things. Things will inevitably go wrong, and your best-laid plans will occasionally go to waste. It’s sad, but it’s true, and there’s just not much that we can usually do about it.
Sometimes, though, music can make things better. You can put on a song and forget about everything for a few minutes. You can go to a gig, and you know that you’re going to come out of it feeling a little better about life than you did when you went in. You can rely on it. If you ask us, that’s a wonderful thing.
What’s even better, though, is that there exists a handful of artists who are so consistently brilliant that you can always rely on them to be… Well, brilliant. They’re a rare breed, of course, but they’re out there. Look at Adele, for example. Bon Iver, too. And, of course, Craig David:
They’ve not outgrown their Baggy Trousers
Forgive us if you disagree, but we think that Madness are one of those bands. The Ska veterans have been churning out the hits for over thirty years, and we’re pleased to report that they’re still as electrifying a live band as they were all those years ago. Their show at Cornwall’s beautiful Eden Project was a veritable showcase of some of the best British pop music of the last three decades, and we defy anybody who attended to say that they didn’t enjoy every minute of it.
After all, what’s not to love? They’ve got the hits, for a start: the likes of Baggy Trousers, Our House, It Must Be Love, and House Of Fun have become nothing short of British musical institutions since they were released all those years ago, and they’re all trotted out by the band over the course of their nearly two-hour-long set.
They know how to put on a show, too
What also helps is that they’re a genuinely entertaining – and endearing – live band. Frontman Suggs‘ between-song chit-chat is warm, and genuinely funny, and leaves you with a sense that he’s still genuinely humbled by the continued success of his band. When he’s not telling stories or jokes, he’s dancing around the stage, trying – and failing – to avoid colliding with the walking ball of energy that is saxophonist Lee Thompson.
What helps more than anything, of course, is that they still sound absolutely fantastic. We saw them at Finsbury Park in 1992, and we’ve seen them a few more times since, and we’re honestly convinced that they’ve only gotten better over the years. Sure, they may have grown a few more grey hairs, and the sharp suits may have gotten a little tighter, but none of that matters when you’ve got a band who are still as energetic and tight as Madness.
So, if you get the chance to go to a Madness show, we think you should take it. They’ve got a set full of hits, and a frontman who knows how to perform them, and they’re one of the most consistently excellent live bands around today.
What’s not to like about that?