LIVE: Madness, The Hives & Maximo Park – Kendal Calling 30.07.16

The third day of Kendal Calling 2016 and another that begins under clear skies and sunshine. After the usual morning ritual of a walk to the breakfast bar and water tap, a walk that seems to get longer everyday, it’s time once again for the crowd to pile into the arena.

Maximo Park – Main Stage

The morning gets off to a disappointing start. Teeside indie outfit Maximo Park emerge from the side of stage late, with one member immediately apologising. Although they claim this was due to a flight delay, their set should be altered to repay the crowds patience. Biggest hits ‘Our Velocity’ and ‘Apply Some Pressure’ do make it in, but the omission of crowd pleasers like ‘Girls Who Play Guitar’ doesn’t ring well with the main stage onlookers. The sound is top notch, and as a fan I personally enjoy some of the other tunes played, but the golden rule of festivals has always been to play what the crowd want to hear. It can be summed up by one man’s response to singer Paul Smith’s announcement that they would be playing stuff from every album, replying “No. Just the first 2!”

The Hives – Main Stage

I submitted Sweden’s most famous garage rockers as my top tip for the festival in the Gigslutz Festival Guide, and they certainly don’t make me feel as if it was a mistake. In the best set of the weekend to date they have the crowd bouncing early. ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ is second on the setlist, and for the first time since Thursday’s arrival these fields turn into a rock n roll warzone. Even the members of the crowd who do not know their songs are soon jumping around, or throwing themselves into the monstrous pits forming down the front. As expected the set culminates with ‘Tick Tick Boom’. In true Hives style a 20ft pit waiting patiently for the final drop is instructed by Pelle to sit down until his command. This command sees chaos, and most of the participants spread out on the floor in a pile on. Nevertheless, a memorable end to a memorable show.

Madness – Main Stage

Anybody who has witnessed a live Madness show will be able to guess exactly what their headline performance entails. From the off, opening with ‘Embarrasment’, it is clear this crowd is right up for some dad-dancing exploits. Arms and hips swinging front to back throughout, they hand pick from their back catalogue to keep the crowd building right to boiling point. Then, though, comes one of the more surreal moments of the weekend, as Suggs and co retreat to allow a rendition of Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer to be sung. A crowd struck with a mixture of humour and confusion is soon sent into pandamonium, as Suggs returns to the microphone… “One Step Beyond!”. This ignites a string of their most well know hits. ‘Baggy Trousers’, ‘House of Fun’ and ‘Our House’ to name but a few. The last act of the Saturday night, though, is to be a message of togetherness. It ‘Must Be Love’, complete with ticker-tape and giant balloons has the who of the field shouting the words back at the Cockney icons. Even as they disappear of the stage and ‘Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life’ plays the who main stage audience sings, dances, hugs, kisses, and everything in between. Can anybody spread a sense of euphoria quite like Madness?

Sam Wright

Sam Wright

Music Journalist, formally at MOJO Magazine. Black Country born, now mainly covering Birmingham and North-West England
Sam Wright

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