Until Saturday came and went that is.
On Saturday night I fell in love with a band that made me feel like I was a teenager again.
You remember those days right? Back when you were rebelling against society and eagerly trying to get home to spin your first garage punk record, hop onto your bed and flip through the CD booklet filled with a collage of lyrics and photos of true grunge rockers, as their sound poured from your cheap speakers, filling your heart with a mixture of sorrow and love and a comfort to know that you weren't alone feeling those things... ?
That's how I felt when I listened to and watched Madam.
And I'm happy to discover that the little teenage rebel heart of mine is still very much alive. Its just been hibernating, waiting for the real thing to come along and take it out of its shell.
That's what Madam are. Real. Everything about them comes from a true place that hasn't been muddied by their growing success. It's pure. It's the kind of art that is hard to come by. Because Madam don't try and distract you from their sound, they give it to you, like a gift, their hearts, literally dripping from their sleeves when you watch them play.
The magic begins with the words softly weaving out from Sukie Smith's lips, to the delicate but sometimes crunching grinds from guitarist John Robertson, to the vibrating cymbals stroked by drummer Jeff Townsin, to the guitar-sounding-bass-lines by Nick Bergin and to then finally be seduced by cellist Sarah Gill... This atmospheric sound sucks you in, and you're lost but found within an ocean of integrity.
Sitting down and pretty close to the massive speakers looming over me, I am sucked into a world of love, pain, death and re-birth. But nothing feels really morbid or really hopeful either; it is what it is, an answer somehow, an understanding and immediately I find myself connected and incredibly inspired.
Madam is a sound where you think you've heard it before but just can't quite put a finger on it. The closest I can get to is Fleetwood Mac and at times I find a hint of the album 'Rumours' bouncing on the high ends of Madam's songs. Or maybe it's the harmonies that float through the songs from time to time that remind me of Fleetwood Mac, creating that beautiful folk-like vision spiced with a psychedelic twist.
Sukie Smith's vocals are incredibly gentle, always a delicate touch within the driving force of the band's pushing atmosphere, but they're never lost, not necessarily because the sound is good tonight, I think it's more to do with the strength, power and courage, which encompasses every lyric Smith projects within her caring voice. Imagine Sukie Smith's vocals as a lilly pad delicately bobbing down the stream in the middle of spring, blossoms swirling from the trees, decorating the grass with pink petals... On its journey, the lilly bumps into the floating body of Ophelia painted by Millais... That's what Sukie Smith's voice reminds me of, a contrast between the beauty of life and death; a painting with such indescribable beauty but never too far away from pain.
The song structures of Madam carry that infamous quiet to loud syndrome, creating tension whilst enticing you. What I found surprising was the sudden endings to a lot of their songs. Once you're seduced into their world, a song would suddenly come to an end, tearing you out from its orbit. Although some of these endings did take me by surprise, I felt it kept the songs from being obvious and left you with wanting more (or maybe the ending's were natural, I just wanted them to go on forever).
And if there was a song I truly wished it to go on forever, it was their last one - a song that isn't on either of their albums that they've released... I'd go back to their gigs just to listen to that one song over and over again.
That's what happens when you're in love. You'll find there are no limits to what you will do for something or someone.
And now, being an official Madam junkie, you'll find me on my bed listening to their second album and revisit those long dreamy days as a youth...