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Theatre of the Absurd presents: Madness – C’Est La Vie

Read the headlines and it’s hard not to conclude that the world has gone mad. Mad enough, in fact, to give North London’s finest twelve-legged quorum of Nutty Boys a run for their money. According to keyboard-wrangler Mike ‘Barso’ Barson, the title track to Madness’s lucky thirteenth full-length C’Est La Vie is “about these crazy times we’re living in, and how I just want to stay on my boat and not be a part of all this madness. But of course, I’m a member of a group called Madness. Perhaps we should have called ourselves ‘Sanity’…”


If this latest opus is any indication, when the going gets mad, the Mad only get sharper, wilder and more succinct. C’Est La Vie combines the widescreen ambition of masterpieces like The Liberty Of Norton Folgate and The Rise & Fall and the all-killer-no-filler tune factory instincts of classics like Absolutely, 7 and Can’t Touch Us Now. It’s a 14-song suite packed with lunatic hooks and neon choruses, eerie space-ska and sophisticated pop genius – a giddy gambol across a bouncy castle soundscape that finds time for moments of righteous anger, powerful empathy and the kind of plain-spoken wisdom that’s always operated beneath the group’s nutty veneer. Vintage Madness, in other words.


After twelve albums helmed by renowned producers (including Stephen Street, Dennis Bovell, Owen Morris, Liam Watson and, of course, Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, the duo who helped shape their career-defining hits), C’Est La Vie is the first Madness opus to be produced by the Nutty Boys themselves, with Matt Glasbey (Ed Sheeran, Rag & Bone Man, alt-J) co-producing. The story begins in Cricklewood[1] where, in 2019, the group took residence in a stark industrial space to write and rehearse new material, soundproofing the gaff with Glasbey and setting it up as a recording studio. “We needed a place we could call home, where all our equipment was,” says guitarist Chris ‘Chrissy-Boy’ Foreman. “We’re scattered across the country now, but this was a place where we could all meet up and get new songs together.”


For Lee, C’Est La Vie was “our best recording session since One Step Beyond – everyone’s there, properly in the zone.” Barso agrees. “It was just us, in our space, playing together,” he explains. “And Madness is whatever happens when I sit at the piano, Lee picks up his saxophone, Chrissy-Boy plays the guitar, Woody and Bedders lay down the rhythm section and Suggs begins to sing. It’s a subtle thing – about the personalities of the band-members, who you are and all the things you’ve gone through and all the music you’ve ever loved. That’s what makes it what it is.” And for the four sides of C’Est La Vie’s theatrical adventure, what a wonderful, profound and uplifting sound they make.


Executive Director of Newcastle Racecourse, Paul Elliot, commented, “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome Madness to Newcastle Racecourse on Friday 28th June, where they’ll be performing as part of the three-day historic Northumberland Plate Festival.  They are one of the country’s most popular artists.  We’re sure that they will blow our customers away with a live performance. We are anticipating a sell-out crowd, so would encourage our customers to book sooner, rather than later.”

Madness promise a superb night of entertainment performing all the hits including: Baggy Trousers, One Step Beyond, My Girl, Our House and It Must Be Love along with some new tracks.  Don’t miss your chance to see them perform live after racing on Friday 28th June.  


This exciting performance is perfect for families and friends to celebrate a day of racing and then dance the night away to spectacular live music.  Secure your ticket early to avoid disappointment.  

Tickets for the MADNESS – Newcastle Racecourse – June 2024 show are available from:

Friday 28th June 2024   

NEWCASTLE - Racecourse

Gates Open – 3.00pm / First Race – 4.55pm approx.  / Last Race – 8.20pm (please note timings are tbc and subject to change)

Adult Grandstand Ticket Price - £40.00 + STBF / Adult Premier - £60.00 + STBF and Children - £25.00 + STBF (Under 5’s free admission) but must be accompanied by an adult 18+



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