Eyes, ears, nose & throat review from a performers point of view……..
How I got through Clapham set I don’t know. You just go into auto pilot.
I should have just left DC, its hard though once you get the flavour…
I awoke semi clothed in Marty’s bed (my French Bulldog) on the Bank Holiday Monday, with what must have been a hangover running through over & into every molecule of my being. Not big, clever or professional, as I had something pressing to do that day, that my bank manager says YES to & my whole living existence says NO….!
What an absolute glorious day for a knees up in Clapham.
A Rainbow 6 seater arrived to take me to Clapham at 1.30pm, Madness were not on until 9pm however & did want to catch Lee Perry & most definitely Toots. I certainly didn’t want to be sat backstage surrounded by a Boozers dream- A never ending tap of free alcohol & twiglets. I opted to soak up 3-4 hours at Alexandra Palace’s World Food Festival. Ray O’Brian of the Black Horse was going along to pick up some custom & shake a few hands of suppliers.
Guess where I had to meet him at High Noon? The Black Horse! Ding Dong round 2!!
Something to take the edge of sir, courtesy of the management?
Racing forward, our driver is a professional blagger. He claims to be the winner of Master Chef 2010 & is working on Mai Thai kitchen, one of the pop up tents on site (a saving of £15 pp). As we walk in a man runs up to give us wrist bands that entitle us to a 25% discount on everything. An Argentinian mixed grill, home-made sausage roll, Duck wraps & Mexican chilli burger, washed down with a Pink Gin Cocktail in Coconut water, x2 pints of Doombar, half of strawberry cider & x2 shots of raspberry vodka & something else… I was back in the running, Super Duper, Indestructible, unpredictable, phenomenal & now on stage at CC in 5 hours.
Must pace myself don’t peak too soon, steady as she blows.
We hit the Southampton Arms to pick up an old pal Mr Patrick McCarneicus who has somehow locked himself in the pubs toilet & not really in the mood for a chauffeur driven day out, all inclusive, AAA to see some great bands & DJ’s. F*ck You Patrick. In future use a toilet, without your mates Super Gluing you in! I’d hate to meet your enemies!!!
So….Here we are. I make my way to the side of stage Dave Rodigan’s on soon after Toot’s.
Toots has them in the palm of his hand. It’s hot, its sweaty, it’s a dust bowl of toing & froing on a sweltering afternoon, hopefully sun blocked up, the crowd looked very red faced. A 74 year young fireball pitting out molten lava in all direction’s, the voice of Reggae music holds court & his band are joyous too, all on the same page, same paragraph, that’s gospel.
There’s a new intro tune for Madness to enter stage, The Beatles’ Because (the world is round) followed by various sounds of life in the big city & culminating in a tremendous thunder. We walk to the front of stage, as per Madstock 92′ not quite feeling that same feeling as Finsbury Park on Aug 7th ’92 & rightly so, history should never repeat. And they’re off, House Of Clapham opens this time holding a little back so to get second wind, for Embarrassment & of course The Prince solo & to keep an eye out for Toots’ vocal direction that ends up lasting about 20 seconds!! He was supposed to vocal on Madness but that was too far into the set & Toots had his mind set on some Hot Honey & Lemon. Even so, he’s still got it & now we have some work to do now. Wood as tight as ever keeping time like GMT, Bedders as always popping out Bass notes as smooth as velvet. Chris, kept everyone sweet with some unusual guitar riffs throughout the whole set. When he’s on fire don’t stand too close, today he is solid as a stick of Rock & Bon Jovi running all the way through him, for the Show time spectacular. We are 50mins in, at least, maybe 60! Oh please where is that F*cking light at the end of this tunnel…? My throat is burning, my thighs cramping up, arms like lead, just breath, breath & stretch, tense the thighs & try not to think about keeling over, Tommy Cooper crosses my thoughts in one of the songs, so I grab the mic stand for support, not now, not here……
One Step Beyond, I move to front of stage to blast a few bars of the solo when suddenly I’m in Hell’s Kitchen with singed F*cking eye brows! Completely forgetting about the pyrotechnics. Thank god I never jumped down to the next level of the stage for a Real Ring Of Fire!!! Will this nightmare ever end? No, It must not, not at least until, until It Must Be Love….
I can’t really remember playing the next 2 tunes Baggy & Our House. Just Suggs’ saying ‘Go to School Or you will end up like this, no good for nothing light weight boozer’ as I casually bite my nails to hide the shaking. There’s the light, that wonderful glow to the opening piano chords of IMBL. Oh Mr Barson you sweet & giving fruit cake, bring me the soothing comfort of a Slumberland King Size, yes, do Bed Knobs & Broomstick me away. I Need juice to replenish and a dash of Vodka & Tequila with ice & a slice to take the sweetness slightly elsewhere. Ding Dong! Round whatever it is, Madness is going out with both barrel’s tonight. We are pretty much home & dry, well dry-ish. M.A.D.N.E not just yet S.S. Let it rip, the Bermuda triangle at the front is absolutely crazy ,I was tempted to stage dive into the middle of it, but I have made certain promises that I cannot break. It looked extremely rough, but fun, if you think you are hard enough, Bumps & Bruises are us.
Night Boat to Cairo……..Oh dear, oh deary me….where are my towels? Where are my F*ckin…..Where the F*ck are my F*cking towels…..? No I don’t want a black F*cking handkerchief ,I want a big white F*ck off towel for Night Boat to Cairo, is it that bloody difficult to get a……No I don’t want a white towel now, I want a PINK one, I want that one, PINK!!!…. Then send someone over to Asda…….
I’ve never seen so many spooked members of our team, running around like headless chickens, looking for a decent sized towel that will reflect the light for Suggotollahs ‘traditional wavering towel’ moment. I rarely see Suggs ruffled, it’s not his style. All the pressure building up to this gig, the album (at last in it’s cellophane) the politics of it, the mixes, the chosen one(s), promotion, the solo ventures, the price of a can of ‘Tubourg’ or whatever that shyte lager is called, the Spirit of this band & the fear of what’s to come. Has it all been worth it? Oh, More so than ever. You Can’t Touch Us Now.