Since resurfacing in the wake of his struggles with drug addiction, Vancouver’s Madchild has been touring and recording at a torrid pace. In 2014 alone, he moved to Los Angeles, resurrected Battleaxe Records, released a solo EP (Switched On) and a full-length record with Swollen Members (Brand New Day), toured across North America and Europe, and finished laying down vocals on both his third solo LP (Super Beast) and a full-length collaboration with Slaine (as Supreme Villain).
Perhaps he needs a breather.
It certainly seemed like it during his show at Venue. His disappointing set was barely 20 minutes long, partly because he was late coming onstage, and partly because immediately after ridiculing DJ Dow Jones for not knowing the words to one of the songs, Madchild himself forgot the lyrics to the second verse of “It Gets Better” (feat. Sophia Denai). As Jones stopped the beat, Madchild apologized to the crowd for not being prepared enough, promoted his upcoming projects, and abruptly left the stage ten minutes early.
People in the crowd didn’t understand at first that the show was over. They stood there fiddling with their phones, looking at the stage, and wondering where he had gone. And then the lights came on and it gradually became clear he wasn’t coming back. It was like being on a date and having the other person excuse themselves to go to the bathroom. And then watching them take their coat and leave the restaurant.
Sure, he was tired. Sure, his mind was filled up with lyrics from his new projects. And oh yeah, someone randomly beaned him in the shoulder mid-set with a fast-pitched water bottle. (“Somebody crack that [unsavoury person] in the face right now. I’m serious. If someone doesn’t crack that [extremely aggravating individual] in the face right now, I’m going to do it.”) Sure. But don’t make fun of your DJ in front of the whole club for not knowing your lyrics if you don’t know them either. And don’t come on stage late and leave early. Especially not in your hometown if you haven’t been back in over six months.
As for the rest of the show, the songs he did remember the lyrics to were great. He seemed a bit lethargic during his opening song (“Crazy”), but he definitely picked up energy as the night progressed. No one else can quite replicate that staccato, goblin-like flow, and the crowd was clearly stoked to see him. Battleaxe jackets littered the audience and people threw their Battleaxe hand signals in the air the second he called for it. Until the water bottle incident, he seemed to be enjoying himself too.
Maybe if he recharges his batteries a little bit more before the next show (and performs some of that new material he was promoting!), people will get closer to their money’s worth. $1/minute’s a bit steep for a show as anticlimactic as this one.
View more photos of Madchild at Venue here.