Saturday, 6 June 2015

Crowds go mad for Madness at Chelmsford City Racecourse reports the Essex Chronicle

Madness are as British an institution as swigging lager, queuing and wearing silly hats, and there was plenty of all of those things going on as the evergreen ska band took to the stage at Chelmsford City Racecourse. 

Madness emphasised their quintessential Britishness at the start of the show with a montage of video clips, splicing together films like Goldfinger and The Italian Job with various sporting endeavours including footage of that famous 1966 World Cup win. 

Then it was straight into a two-hour set of ska-infused sing-a-longs which made you realise just how many great songs Suggs and co turned out in their heyday of the early 1980s. 

It's only the third date of the band's Grandslam tour of sporting venues but they're a well-oiled machine live which I guess they would be after more than 35 years in the business. It may be a long time since their Two Tone days and the release of debut single, The Prince back in 1979 but Madness still know how to get a party going. 

A crowd of race-goers in a field in the Essex countryside couldn't help but dance along to brilliant pop songs like Embarrassment, My Girl, House Of Fun and a blistering version of the anthemic Night Boat To Cairo. 

And it's not just dads in their Fred Perrys reliving their youths here either - everyone is skanking along to the songs, from teens to OAPs, which gives you an insight into Madness's universal appeal. 

With frontman Suggs offering cheeky banter and joke asides between tunes, Madness play a smattering of more recent songs from their oeuvre including My Girl 2 and Dust Devil (accompanied by the video featuring Jamie Winstone and Alfie 'Reek' Allen) as well as some lesser-known early tracks like Bed And Breakfast Man and Take It Or Leave It, both of which sounded great. 

But Madness really come into their own when they're playing old favourites like House Of Fun, Wings Of A Dove and The Prince which all have the crowd dancing and singing along. A rousing two-song encore of One Step Beyond and Madness ups the intensity of the dad-dancing to new levels before Suggs and co bid us a fond farewell and we all head our separate ways with a rocksteady spring in our steps.

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