Mad Caddies – Manchester University

By paul

It’s becoming all too frequent now at punk shows. Yep, the ‘sold out’ sign seems to have become a permenant fixture on the doors of many a gig, especially when a US band are visiting our shores. And the visit of Californian skanksters The Mad Caddies is no different. Around 500 kids, many who appear to be young enough to be my children [and I’m only 22…], have gathered to rock the plank, and they sure as hell weren’t disappointed.

First up were Farse who certainly look the part. Well they look too much like they want to be the part anyway. It’s all dyed blonde hair and tattoos and piercings, and whilst the girls will surely swoon over them, the guys will probably diss them for being wannabes. Looking like Welsh nu-metallers Lostprophets, it’s an image that will surely gain them some cred across the pond, but probably won’t wash with many over here.

Still, they’re good enough live to hold their own as a support band. Clearly not overrawed by the occasion, the Midlanders play a fairly energetic brand of punk, fusing a wide number of bands. This could be their downfall though, as you are left to guess which band they are going to be next. Tonight Matthew, Farse are the Voodoo Glow Skulls, CapDown, [spunge] and everything in between. Still, it’s likeable enough and I’m sure we will be hearing more from this lot over the next 12 months.

Santa Barbara’s favourite sons the Mad Caddies are pretty much worshipped by the UK punk fraternity. Their crazy brand of ska is as original as they come and it’s no surprise that the MDH is full to the brim. And their set doesn’t disappoint. Playing a set of songs from each of their four releases, it keeps everyone happy enough, although I was disappointed with the lack of ‘SOS’ from the set. Still, I guess I can’t have everything.

But what we do get is played with aplomb and it’s easy to see why the Caddies have become so popular. ‘The Gentleman’, ‘Falling Down’, ‘Macho Nachos’ and ‘Econoline’ are all blasted out and the kids go off. Being one of the horniest, ahem, bands in the world certainly helps and vocalist Chuck Robertson sounds exactly like he does on record. They’re not the most agile of bands, but there is enough going on around the stage to keep everyone interested.

‘Monkeys’ goes down better than a hooker with a ΒΆΕ“20 note in her hand and the kids go off like their lives depended on it. But there is more to this lot than songs about primates. Getting kids out of the crowd to get on-stage and sing hardcore songs about their problems, including one girl and her sweaty piles, was funny stuff and the songs off of their latest opus, ‘Rock The Plank’ are greeted like old friends. Indeed, one of the highlights is the emo-tinged ‘Days Away‘ which shows that they’re more than just a one-trick pony.

Finishing off with the pirate-tastic ‘All-American Badass’ seems as good a way of departing as any and I think it’s fairly safe to say that the large sweaty throng went home happy. And a little wet from the sweat which dripped from the ceiling…

The Caddies are highly polished live and excellent entertainment. But they just seem to lack a certain ‘x’ factor that their counterparts Reel Big Fish seem to have in abundance. Still, a good gig that brought a little of the high seas to 500 kids lives, for one night at least.

Paul Savage