The Mad Caddies are a band that somehow has been around for several milestones throughout my life. I remember watching them play the first Warped Tour I went to back in New Mexico, the first time I ever went anywhere with the person who turned out to be my first girlfriend was a Caddies show in South Gate, and one of the first albums I ever got from Razorcake to review was Keep It Going. Therefore, this show felt like visiting an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while, as it was the first time since 2004 that I saw these guys play.
As far as sound and layout, I have to say that the Troubadour is probably my favorite venue in Los Angeles (although, security can get overzealous depending on the night). It seems, lately though, that the place has been weaning itself off punk shows. It’s a shame since many shows end up at the Knitting Factory instead, which always gets hot as balls should more than twenty-five people show up for anything. I got into the show just in time to see the openers, the Supervillains, go into their last song, which was a speedy ska-punk song which was all of about one minute. From what I can tell on their Myspace page, it seems like they pretty much play in the whole Sublime/Pepper mold of things. Primarily, the only thing I really took away from the brief glimpse I saw of them was the impressively long white dude dreads that the guitarist had going.
The Mad Caddies came out after a bit and got straight to work playing their circus-shanty-reggae-Latin soul-punk-ska mix. They played a significant amount of stuff off their last album, Keep It Going, from 2006. This was a good thing since there’s quite a few great songs on the album such as “State of Mind,” “The Dirge,” and “Riding for a Fall.” They also scattered the set with older favorites such as “Monkeys,” “Drinking for 11,” and my personal favorite “Mary Melody.” Sadly, there was no “Preppie Girl.”
One thing I consciously made note of seeing the band this time around was just how good a voice their singer Chuck has. A lot of my favorite singers have voices that are pretty bad technically (I love anything Keith Morris puts to tape, but that dude has one of the flattest voices ever), and a lot of people with “good” voices tend to sing the most absolute, rotten, shit music (see any American Idol finalist). Chuck fits in that rare breed of punk singer who has a voice that non-punk rocker might actually confess the merits of, like Jeff Pezzati or Glenn Danzig. The other main thing I took note of was just how awesome the keyboardist’s face was when he was playing. It was like John Brown being possessed by a demon. It was gnarly. The best part of the Caddies live is that whether they’re playing fast, slow, in English, or in Spanish, or whatever, they’re the kind of band that is great to dance to. I think the rest of the audience would agree since their was a lot of shimmying, skanking, and assorted other dances going down that night.