The Mad Caddies graced the London Astoria stage, for the 8th time, in October this year. This time round they were promoting their latest release 'Live From Toronto: Songs In The Key Of Eh', which spans their entire musical career since their 1998 debut album 'Quality Softcore'.

The show started unusually early, at 6.30pm. The masses of people that were later to squeeze tightly into the venue failed to show up until the very last opportunity. Support bands Belvedere and Throw Rag ended up playing to a tiny portion of an audience intent on saving their energy for the headliners. Unsurprising really, considering their well known title of “Fat Wreck’s best live band.” Although ska has retreated once again into the background, leaving behind it’s golden era of mass popularity that was the early 90’s, the Mad Caddies keep changing the formula in an effort to keep the genre interesting. Themes that have spanned their album covers, and their huge catalogue of songs, now include belly dancing, Italian funeral music, and the most popular of them all, ‘piratecore’.

Although bassist Mark Iverson, perhaps slightly embarrassed by it all, insists that the theme was a one off saying “The whole pirate thing was actually only one song. We did another one for 'Rock the Plank' that never actually got on the record. It was the kind of thing that wasn't supposed to get that important.” Well, it has, and it’s almost spinning out of control. The number of people wearing pirate related attire in the crowd was ten-fold compared to their last gig at the Astoria 18 months ago. Lead singer, Chuck Robertson, lapped this opportunity up, saying, “Er, I have a question to ask,” and putting on the clichéd tone of your stereotypically gruff buccaneer ,“Ay, ay, are there any pirrrates on board tonight?” to rapturous applause and “Aaargh!”s in reply. Perhaps 'Weird Beard' is not a song they’ll be able to leave behind any time soon.

Loosely following Toronto’s track listing as their set list, The Mad Caddies entertained the crowd for over an hour. The mosh pit was as cramped and sweaty as always, enticing 7ft punks to join in the fun by creating tidal waves spanning the entire venue. As a red-faced fan made his way back to the seating area, I could hear him saying, “Wow! I thought they’d be good, but that was f**king amazing!”

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Commenting On: Astoria, London, 30/10/2004 - Mad Caddies

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