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Camden's original Nutty Boys still up for it with a joyous, hit-filled show








"Grandslam Madness". It's coming our way next summer, apparently. What is it, you ask? No idea. Probably another tour, or maybe even an album release. Whatever the case, those nutty Camden Town boys in the striped shirts, shades and fez hats have decided that, before they welcome us to Cairo, they had better tease their plans for 2015. Because Madness ain't going anywhere.

Well, we hope not. After just one number, Graham "Suggs" McPherson (53) throws a towel over his head, wiggles about and bids us goodnight. He is, of course, kidding. Besides, saxophonist Lee Thompson is only getting started.

Ten albums in and Madness appear to have misplaced their iconic backing vocalist and dancer, the great Chas Smash (he's off doing a solo thing). No mind. The other lads are "all for the M.A.D.H.E.A.D".

The key to Madness's continued success, notwithstanding their note-perfect delivery and marvellous catalogue of ska-sprinkled pop gems, is that they never have and never will take themselves too seriously. They're certainly up for it - the spectacular Madness stage set-up is a beaut, and you had better believe that it's a proper party below.

Here we have a fabulous selection box of treats, from the old (Our House, One Step Beyond and the divine My Girl), to the new (2009's Dust Devil, and fresh-out-of-the-studio number, The Last Rag and Bone Man).

Fizzy brass arrangements light up under Chris Foreman's guitars. The hilarious Suggs is in tremendous voice. He's also in full-on Tommy Cooper mode.


Pointing to the folks on the balcony, our leader asks them if they need help. "They've been stuck up there since Westlife," he jests. "They need a ladder. And some soup."

Elsewhere, the brilliant Lovestruck comes equipped with Suggs' advice on how to make it home from the boozer at Christmas (grab hold of the lampposts), and the final third sees the lads plough through the hits (Baggy Trousers, Wings of a Dove, House of Fun, etc.).

Thompson rides around on a chopper. Everyone joins the Madness Walk on the floor. Foreman sings Big Spender (yeah, that was bizarre).

And hey, Suggs even changes the lyrics to It Must Be Love. Why? Because he accidentally takes a tumble on stage, that's why. "Bless this f***ing speaker!" he chuckles, dusting himself off. The boys nearly wet themselves. "Typical Chelsea person diving!" declares Foreman.

A joyous occasion, for sure. hhhhi