Venue: Kings Place
Date: 21st January
Sometimes gigs are not about the headliners, they are about the support. About three years ago I went to see the much loved (but now defunct) band Hush The Many (Heed The Few) in what turned out to be their last gig. What I remember most about that night in Bush Hall was Madam, and specifically their track 'Superfast Highway'. Their debut album 'In Case of Emergency' had not long been released and, although I did not buy it on the night, it was my top album of 2008 so an invite to launch of her second album 'Gone Before Morning' was not to be refused.
You do not generally get any surprises from a Madam show; apart from the bassist who occasionally throws a couple of shapes every ones is pretty static. The guitarist seems to be continually striving to find the absolutely perfect tone, the cellist provides some backing vocals as well as playing the saw on the regular sets final track, the drummer drums, the guy with the mac book I guess makes all the sounds the other instruments don't make and Sukie Smith just stands there, strums her acoustic and sings beautifully. Together they make a most glorious noise that washes over you and seems so much bigger, so much deeper, so much richer than you would think possible on stage.
There was one difference between this show and ones I have seen before: "Good evening" said Smith, "are you dazzled?" - and she was not talking about the sparkly trousers she was wearing either. This gig was done in conjunction with Blip Lighting. Twenty one bands of LED's, looking like ammunition belts for a machine gun, fanned up, out and over the audience changing colour, changing speed, moving up, down and across and, most impressively, into a horse running and a shark swimming. It was the kind of light show that you would only normally see at a big arena or stadium gig yet it did not, at any time, outshine the music (although there were a couple of times I wished I was wearing sunglasses).
This was an exceptional show from an exceptional artist.