“Madness is just unbridled joy. That’s what it is all about and we absolutely love what we do.”
So says ska legend Suggs, as the megaband’s frontman looks ahead to this summer’s concert in Alnwick.
And it’s this philosophy, of enjoying the moment and having a right old laugh, that the group will most certainly stick to when performing at the Pastures on Saturday, July 14.
In Suggs’ own words, it would be rude for concert-goers not to dance, as Madness plan to serve up an evening of classic tunes and high-energy entertainment.
And it’s all in a night’s work for the legendary band, who have chalked up 15 UK Top 10 singles – including Our House, It Must Be Love, One Step Beyond, My Girl, Wings Of A Dove and Baggy Trousers – over a 40-year period.
In an interview with the Gazette, he said: “We have got a great pool of songs to draw from. They’ll be new songs and album tracks, but predominantly we play the hits, because people want to have a good time. And that’s what Madness is all about – it’s about unbridled joy.”
With this in mind, Suggs is delighted that the Pastures gig has been changed to an all-standing affair, following an initial announcement that it would be all-seater arena.
He said: “We heard that story and we did our best to change it, so it was standing.
“We used to play in old cinemas and people weren’t allowed to stand up and dance. There were actually bouncers in the aisles stopping it.
“But we enjoy it when people can get up and have a dance – people like that communal feeling, shoulder to shoulder, singing and dancing.
“I love playing these outdoor concerts. Creating fun is part of our DNA and these sort of gigs seem to really suit us.
“I like the smaller venues too, where you can see the eyeballs of the crowd, but the larger, outdoor types of gig benefit our vibe and we are looking forward to playing in Alnwick.”
Known for their cheeky humour and musical eclecticism, Madness are something of a British institution and their appeal seems timeless.
And Suggs admits that it is humbling that crowds still clamour to see the band, four decades after forming in Camden, London, in 1976.
He said: “It really is a privilege that people are still interested in what we are doing and it seems to get more potent.
“We should be off the stage by now, giving the younger generation a chance, but people keeping asking us to perform and we absolutely love doing what we do.”
Madness are being supported by The Lightning Seeds for the gig. one of four concerts in The Pastures in July: Wednesday, July 11: Nile Rodgers and CHIC. Friday, July 13, Sir Tom Jones. Saturday, July 14: Madness, with support from The Lightning Seeds. Sunday, July 15: Il Divo, with special guest Michael Ball.
For all of the concerts, food/drink not permitted, but people with special dietary requirements can be accommodated with a doctor’s note. You can bring one sealed bottle of water per person max 500ml. Food stalls will be in the arena.
Visit www.cuffeandtaylor.com/music for concert tickets.