LIVE REVIEW: Madness at Royal Albert Hall in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust

Madness

After an unwanted three year hiatus, the annual series of gigs at the Royal Albert Hall in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust has finally returned. Don Broco, with support from Deaf Havana, got things going for the opening night to fill this wonderful building with music again in aid of a most worthy charity: the Teenage Cancer Trust, which provides specialist care and life-changing support for teenagers with cancer and their families.

In order to continue to raise awareness of the Teenage Cancer Trust and analyse what the headlined artists have done for this charity, XS Noize headed back to the Royal Albert Hall to see the North London ska band Madness supported by the Mod-father Paul Weller, who would play an acoustic set. Before we even get started with Madness and their ten-piece live ensemble, the spotlight first needs to be shone on Paul Weller.

As well as playing live at the first rendition of the Teenage Cancer Trust back in 2000, Weller has since become the only artist (along with Paul McCartney and John Lennon) to top the UK album chart in five consecutive decades. Performing as part of a seven-piece which included the organ, saxophone, flute, Spanish-style guitar and percussion, Weller played a spectrum of his back catalogue, including his more commercial hits including "Out of the Sinking", "Wild Wood", and "English Rose".

With a more than formidable support act and with Weller promising the Royal Albert Hall that they were in "for a fucking treat with Madness tonight",; elation and beverage consummation soared immensely. Madness invested well in their fans as they addressed the audience frontman Suggs sang acapella the first two lines of "One Step Beyond": "Hey you, don't watch that, watch this. This is the heavy, heavy monster sound" before pausing. The Royal Albert Hall couldn't contain themselves and sang back, "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 better start to move your feet. To the rockiest, rock-steady beat. Of Madness. One step beyond…." At that point, Madness as a ten-piece ensemble stepped in to do the rest leaving the Royal Albert Hall to stand up and dance to Madness' take of this Prince Buster classic.

For a band whose biggest hits come from the late 1970s and 1980s; Madness also demonstrated that their newer material: "Mr Apples" from 2016's Can't Touch Us Now and "NW5" from The Liberty of Norton Folgate, could also engage their fans and prevent them from sitting down.

From the modern anthems, the loudest roars came from the hallowed classics. Seldom was a classic was withheld from their first five LPs. "My Girl", "House of Fun", "Baggy Trousers", and "Our House" were all recited in their original glory. Madness also knew when to drop their gems, such as their Labi Siffre cover of "It Must Be Love" just before the encore. After the encore, Madness returned with a second Prince Buster classic appropriately called "Madness" before playing out with "Night Boat to Cairo", which involved several white towels clumsily wrapped around Suggs' head and them being thrown into the crowd.

Excitement is always guaranteed at Madness gigs. Things got so passionate when they last played London in December 2021 a fight broke, which forced the band to restart "Wings of A Dove". There were rival bucolic schools of thought at the Royal Albert Hall, from those with seated tickets to whether people should be allowed to stand up. The venue ruled that those standing in the majority were allowed to continue to stand, dance, and show appreciation for Madness in aid of a noble cause.

Please text "GIVE" to 70500 to donate £10 to the Teenage Cancer Trust or visit here.

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