RoD header


introRuhrCongress, Bochum, Germany
4th October 2016
Madness & The Frits

This evening was characterized by the sound of Ska. Not often do the German fans of MADNESS have the chance to see their favourite band in Germany and so this event was surely something to be looking forward to.

The Frits

In 2014, the Bochum, Germany, based band celebrated its 30th anniversary. The band is often called the German SPECIALS because of its affinity to its idols from Coventry. During three decades THE FRITS have performed alongside all big names of the Ska genre. As it’s been quite a while that the fourth and last studio album was released (1993), the fans had the chance to purchase a compilation of its greatest hits from the albums that are out of stock since a long time finally this year, called ‚The greatest Frits‘. A live album and two EPs also belong to the discography of the band.


Music & Performance
I have to admit that I never heard of this band before. With eight band members plus special guest musician Dr Ring Ding on the trombone, it is definitely not a small ensemble. So here we had a keyboarder, a drummer, two guitar and one bass player, two trumpet player, the just mentioned trombone player and of course the singer. With lots enthusiasm and much fun the band gave us a proper warm up. And for real who can keep ones feet still to the rhythm of Ska? Personally I found it a pity that at the time this band performed the venue was not even half filled. In my opinion the guys deserved more attention and appreciation. Well, anyway, the people who were already there danced to the songs and when the band left for good a lot of them called for an encore. But due to the tight schedule it was not possible.

01. Concrete jungle
02. Hey girl
03. Rat race ( THE SPECIALS cover)
04. Streetfighter
05. Little idiots
06. The most I hate is you
07. Still alive
08. Work
09. Life of Brian (MONTY PYTHON cover)

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 8.5 / 10



Together with THE SPECIALS, the band was one of the most important representatives of the Ska genre back in the eighties. Unmistakable is the witty playfulness and the fulminant mixture of Ska, Punk, Pop, also called the “Nutty sound” by the band. The London based band had its first shows in 1977 under the moniker THE INVADERS but renamed to MADNESS in 1979. The debut album ‘One step beyond‘ was more than one year in the British charts. Until the first split up in 1986 MADNESS launched six studio albums and the first twenty singles made it all into the top 20 of the British charts. After a failed reunion in 1988 the band then came back together in 1992 though with some changes in band members. With the just released album ‘Can’t touch us now‘ MADNESS has launched thirteen studio albums and a re-release of the first album ‘One step beyond‘ that contains some bonus material. / 


Music & Performance
While THE FRITS were performing we were wondering if this venue was not too big for this evening as it was only half filled. Having in mind that the band actually is an arena filler in its home country and even performed on the Buckingham Palace at the Jubilee concert of the Queen this year it was quite puzzling. But lo and behold during the stage rebuilding the venue filled quickly in the standing and in the seated area as well. While the stage rebuilding took some time the audience was entertained with music from the playback, mainly songs from the 80’s with lots of Ska and Reggae music that was popular back in these days. I took the opportunity to have a good look around and to my joy I found out that not only people of my age were there but also young people in their twenties and I even spotted some kids. Also it was nice to see that a lot of people were dressed in the styles of the 80’s with Rockabilly, Punk, Ska outfits. Finally the darkening of the venue indicated the begin of the show and the entering band members were welcomed with loud applause and cheering.


Without wasting any time, MADNESS started to play and in no time the people danced and sang along. Although the performance had a bit of a routine and a setlist containing mainly the old hits, to be on the safe side, I found the show very entertaining. The performance itself was fun to watch with the saxophone and trumpet players dancing unison or playing patty cake, the singer dancing, interacting with the audience and making merry and of course the solo saxophone player who always did some amusing interludes and making fun with the audience. After the second song Graham McPherson stated jokingly that he heard that we came to see ONE DIRECTION and he’s sorry they couldn’t make it. So they probably play some of their songs later but no, they won’t because they are MADNESS. And by announcing this the name was displayed with colourful LED lights in the background. Btw, I have to mention that the whole show was underlined by an excellent light show. After another PRINCE BUSTER song the band left the stage except the guitar player Chris Foreman who performed a solo to ‘Highway to hell‘ with the music from the playback. When the others returned on stage to continue the show he stated jokingly that he doesn’t understand why AC/DC chose Axl Rose for the job.


After 20 songs, the main set ended but of course the fans shouted vehemently for an encore which was granted. Starting with an announcement of the new single ‘Mr. Apple‘, advertised by Graham to be very good and finishing with two old songs. Had the audience danced already high spirited but with the last song of the evening ‘Nightboat to Cairo‘ MADNESS raised the roof. And two young boys, dressed up neatly in an old fashioned manner including suspenders, had the chance to dance along with the singer on stage which was cute to watch and I’m sure this was a memorable evening for them as well.

01. One step beyond (PRINCE BUSTER cover)
02. Embarrassment
03. The Prince
04. NW5
05. My girl
06. Take it or leave it
07. Wings of a dove
08. Herbert
09. The sun and the rain
10. Don’t leave the past behind
11. I chase the devil a.k.a. Ironshirt (MAX ROMEO cover)
12. You can’t touch us now
13. Bed and breakfast man
14. Shut up
15. Girl why don’t you? (PRINCE BUSTER cover)
16. Highway to hell (AC/DC cover)
17. House of fun
18. Baggy trousers
19. Our house
20. It must be love (LABI SIFFRE cover)
21. Mr. Apples
22. Madness (PRINCE BUSTER cover)
23. Nightboat to Cairo

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 9
Light: 10
Total: 9.8 / 10


All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( /

Comments powered by CComment