Madness @The BIC – Review

Ever noticed how famous bands often end up looking like a tribute band to themselves?

It's always a concern that golden oldies might provide a set that sounds a bit like a Radio Quiet drivetime special, playing all the stuff they know works, and has worked since 1979.

Luckily for fans of Madness, and of live music there was no chance of that on Tuesday night at the BIC as the people of Bournemouth were treated to a gig full of classics old and new from a band that continue to give an energetically charged performance.

Paying attention as I do, I hadn't noticed when Scouting for Girls were announced as support. Frankly the indie rockers wouldn't immediately have been my choice to support the worlds best known ska band.

That having been said they gave what was a superb performance. Announcing that they had been nervous to come out on the road and work as a support band again frontman Roy Stride showed absolutely no sign of this whatsoever. They launched into pretty much a greatest hits compilation set that was very much enjoyed by the early evening crowd. (apologies in advance for the rubbish photos, once again thanks to the BIC)

Special mention has to be made of the way that SFG worked the crowd. They were exceptional and set the tone for what you generally get with a Madness gig, which is a fun, happy and friendly night.

I'm going to admit to a slight sense of disappointment as the Ivor Novello and Brit winning combo gave what could have fairly been a headlining set on another night. They really should be on a tour of their own as the hits came thick and fast and I for one will be buying a ticket when they do their own tour.

I loved the usual hits of course but the band also have a great 'Live and Let Die' following their own 'James Bond' track, and gentlemen of a certain age will all agree with the sentiment expressed in 'Michaela'. The way that Stride worked 'Posh Girls' was a microcosm of the whole set with great music and superb fun with the packed BIC audience. A1 for these guys.

Incidentally they have a nicely written tour diary on their site so I'd suggest that you trundle along to

'Night Boat to Cairo' gives the band a perfect start to any gig with the foghorn call of Lees' sax providing a starting gun to a night of singing & dancing.

A trip through the eminently singable 'Embarrassment' and by track 3 we see the first sign that we won't be getting golden oldies all night. 'NW5' comes from the critically acclaimed concept album The Liberty of Norton Folgate  and is an indicator of how this group has had a real indian summer.


The audience were treated to the interesting 'Hey Big Spender' from Mr CJ Foreman which served the dual purpose of giving the band a breather and making the entire crowd wear an expression of 'is he serious'. Great fun.

We had 'Wings of a Dove', 'Baggy trousers' and 'It must be love', which passes for romance in the land of the two-tone.

It didn't take an awful lot of cajoling for the chaps to come back on stage for an encore and the assembled throng were treated to the dancey, sweaty 'One step beyond' and gigs and bands learned two things;

1 - It's difficult to dance when your feet are stuck to the beer on the BIC floor

2- G&B have developed an uncanny ability to end up standing next to someone having a domestic.

We all had a sing song to the anthem 'Madness' and the sweat drenched, tired and emotional crowd left, smiling to queue for their coats and visit the reasonably priced merch stand.

Job done



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