California’s ska heroes the Mad Caddies returned to the UK for the first time since the release of their first album in seven years, Dirty Rice. Bringing Jaya The Cat with them for their five day trip across England.
Based out of Amsterdam, Jaya the Cat took the stage and immediately set a strong reggae groove throughout the whole room in such a way that only a band from the Netherlands could. With a clean, crisp sound the band entranced the crowd with their infectious rhythms and beards too by the look of things. With the members of the band playing a fairly stationary set (with the exception of bassist ‘Jay’ Onverwagt) for the most part, they did begin to move around a fair bit as their set went on, including front-man Geoff Lagadec despite playing the guitar without a strap as he is known to do.
The only issues you could find with their set was the lead guitar being fairly quiet which made the solos to sound a little mushy and also a brief issue with feedback. They effectively warmed the crowd up for the Mad Caddies by engaging the crowd which included making them crouch down and jump up (which inevitably resulted in a volcano of beer erupting through the venue) and saving crowd favourite Here Come The Drums until close to the end.
By the time the Mad Caddies took the stage, it was clearly going to be an interesting show by how drunk the crowd were alone. With Chuck’s vocals spot on, and opening with Down and Out from the new album, it created a very lively start to the set to say the least. A night of ska/punk wouldn’t be complete without dangerous crowd surfers, a hectic skank pit and an array of interesting characters (including a guy getting stuck in whilst wearing a Royal Mail (the British postal service) work bag). Pulling songs from their back catalogue, the crowd were swaying to Souls For Sale and going batshit crazy to Monkeys. Which wasn’t before the crowd were treated to a questionable history lesson about the banjo and a demonstration of its hillbilly qualities by guitarist Sascha Lazor playing the dueling banjos riff from the movie Deliverance. Whilst declaring that this show was “the best Monday show ever” Chuck smiled through his bushy beard. Also managing to flawlessly whistle his part in Mary Melody was particularly impressive. Topping off the show with a Monty Python reference (a night out in England isn’t complete one without it) and things getting fairly dangerous during Contraband.
The Caddies put together a memorable night for all those present in the basement of the Manchester Academy, with all in attendance leaving with buckled knees and that smell that you can only get from cramped sweaty punk shows. A pleasant reminder that in a world where the crowd are being increasingly separated from the bands during live shows, that intimate shows will continue to happen and never disappoint.
Rating: 7 Slices out of 8