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Dirty rotten Ska-ndrels in chart-topping Madness to turn Inverness into a House of Fun when band bring back catalogue – including One Step Beyond and Night Boat to Cairo – to Northern Meeting Park to finish Live in the City series

By Kyle Walker

INVERNESS will transform into a Highland house of fun when Madness returns to the Highlands for a huge headline outdoor concert.

The ska pop kings come to the Northern Meeting Park on Friday night for the final concert of city promoters LCC’s Live in the City series.

This will be Madness’s first visit to the Highlands since their headlining appearance at Belladrum 2016, where they closed festivities at the Garden Stage on the Saturday night.

And the band will be bringing some of the UK’s most beloved hits along with them for city revellers – including House of Fun, One Step Beyond, Night Boat to Cairo and Baggy Trousers.

Joining them in support on the night will be Liverpudlian chart-toppers The Farm, whose first album – produced by Madness frontman Suggs – soared to the top of the charts in 1991, while opening the show will be Manchester outfit Jeremiah Ferrari.

When the gig was announced, the ska legends said in a statement: “We’re excited to be heading back to Scotland to perform outdoors, this time in the Highlands.

“Our Scottish fans always give us such a warm welcome and we’ll offer them a great concert featuring a superb line-up of our hits, which we can all dance along to!”

Forming in Camden in 1976, the band had a few false starts before hitting success – Suggs was once kicked out of the band for failing to turn up to rehearsals, choosing to watch Chelsea instead.

However, in 1979 the band achieved their first chart success when their version of Lee Thompson’s composition The Prince was released by legendary label 2 Tone Records, number 16 in the singles chart.

Their debut album, One Step Beyond...was released shortly after on Stiff Records, introducing the world to Madness staples My Girl, Night Boat to Cairo and the title track – itself a reworking of the song Al Capone by the band’s hero and ska legend Prince Buster.

Their second album Absolutely followed in 1980, reaching number two in the charts. It featured three top 10 singles – Baggy Trousers, Embarrassment, and The Return of the Los Palmas 7.

Further successes followed – including their number one single House of Fun, released in 1982 – before splitting in 1986 due to differences forming within the band.

However, the Madness train continued to roll on – a rerelease of their cover of It Must Be Love reached number six in the singles charts and a singles compilation called Divine Madness hit the top spot on the album charts.

This all led to the band’s reunion at Finsbury Park over two nights called Madstock. Further Christmas reunion tours and Madstocks followed, before the band went back into the recording studio to record Wonderful – released in 1999. The lead single, Lovestruck, became their first top 10 hit since 1983.

Since then, the band have continued to record and tour across the country and beyond – including one headline appearance at Rock en Seine organised at the last minute, where they filled in for Oasis after the altercation between the Gallagher brothers that led to the Britrock band’s split.

After Noel Gallagher’s Live in the City show back in June went off without a hitch, it therefore seems appropriate that Madness see the series off for 2019.

Madness play the Northern Meeting Park on Friday night with support from The Farm and Jeremiah Ferrari. Tickets cost £39 plus booking fee (where applicable) and are available at the Box Office or from www.lcclive.co.uk

For more info about Madness, go to www.madness.co.uk

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