5 go mad coverAlbum review

5 Go Mad: Live at the Rifle Club (Ginger Beer Promotions)

CD only 

Out now

40 years on from ’77, the spirit of Johnny Moped and the Unwanted at the Roxy WC2 is alive and well and residing in Portsmouth… in a Carry On Punk Rock style. Ged Babey, against his better judgement, can’t help but like 5 Go Mad.

5 Go Mad are a hard-gigging, fun-loving, piss-taking bunch from Pompey.  Chances are if you go to a ‘Punk Festival’ or All-dayer this year you will bump into one of them.  They will spill your pint, buy you another and you will end up chatting and after ten minutes you’ll have a friend for life.

5 Go Mad are a caricature punk band in a way; tartan bondage trews, crap mohawks worn with a beard, arse-baring, burping, farting, drinking, wanking lunatics who write jokey songs with rhyme-schemes that the Two Ronnies or Benny Hill would have rejected when writing a punk parody.  Since their debut album, which I reviewed here, they have lost a bass-player, gained a new one, gigged all over supporting many a ‘punk legend’ and improved technically, but not changed at all in essence.

This live recording of a support slot with the Vibrators captures them, unedited in their element. Live, loud and taking the piss yet playing really rather well!  With the background chatter and what sounds like Woody Woodpecker laughing between songs it really does have the same ‘vibe’ as the Roxy WC2 album (which everyone calls Live at the Roxy – the first ever compilation of live UK punk rock on a major label – featuring Buzzcocks, Wire, X-Ray Spex, Slaughter and the Dogs – as well as Eater, the Unwanted and Johnny Moped.)

You could say that 5 Go Mad are Punk Marmite, you either love them or hate them -but I’ve always tried to sit on the fence and be objective… but after a few pints I end up falling into the love’em camp.

This live album has all of the tracks from the ‘Lashings of Ginger Beer’ album plus four brand new, unrecorded in the studio songs -and strangely, they are the ones which come over best;  full of fresh, manic, immediacy in pure punk tradition.

Syd Mankini is a new song which is about their number one fan, who loves the band so much he actually moved down-South to be nearer to his (…I was gonna say) heroes (but actually they’re just ‘mates’ now), Last I heard he was living in the cupboard under the stairs at singer Alan’s house.

Shit Town Rat seems to concern Saint Bob Geldoff and the time he slagged off the audience at Rebellion. Friend of the Stars  is about punk bores and name-droppers and PMQ’s is a savage critique of Prime Ministers Question Time.

The between-song inter-action between band-members is what makes this is a lively, fun, foul-mouthed and juvenile delight.  A portable gig on a silver disc  which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.  Musically it stands up as a race-to-finish-first, punk-as-fuck, UK82, Gob-On-You, Punk and Disorderly, lo-fi racket, which yer-average Rebellion-goer will love.

After decades of dissection, intellectualizing, analysis and revisionism, sometimes it is a good idea to bring ‘punk’ back to the basics of having a laugh and making a noise for the sheer hell of it.  5 Go Mad, living up to their name, certainly do that – with knobs on!  And ‘boobies’.

The CD is available at gigs or from the 5 Go Mad Facebook and website

the band also appear alongside SLF, the Defects, the Upstarts and others on the Top Of The Punks charity compilation – raising funds and awareness for MIND which comes out in June 2017.


Tour dates 2017
Saturday 25th February 2017  – Fighting Cocks, Kingston
Saturday 4th March 2017  – The Admiral, Brighton
Thursday 23rd March 2017  – Talking Heads Southampton
Friday 31st March 2017   – Punk And Disorderly Festival,  Salisbury (Wiltshire)
Friday 14th April 2017   – The Lounge, Gosport
21st – 23rd April 2017   – Jusbcuz Festival,  Coalville
Friday 5th May 2017   – The Rifle Club, Portsmouth
Saturday 6th May 2017   – The Acoustic Couch, Bracknell
27th -28th May 2017  –  Bash The Bishop Festival,  Bar 42,  Worthing
Saturday 17th June 2017   – The Bear,  Northampton
Friday 23rd June 2017   – Locomotive,  Littlehampton
Saturday 24th June 2017   – Phoenix,  High Wycombe
June 30th – July 2nd 2017   – Degeneration Festival,  Telford
July 7th – 9th 2017               – Stickstock,   Ferndown
21st – 22nd July 2017     – Mayhem At Micks, Fleckney
3rd – 6th August 2017      – Rebellion,  Blackpool
11th – 12th August 2017      – Gosport Punkfest, Gosport
Saturday 9th September 2017 – Hard Drive Festival, Coalville
15th – 17th September 2017     –  Derby Punk, Crust & Ska Festival
Saturday 30th September 2017  – Shooting Star,  Southampton


All words by Ged Babey

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Ged Babey is 56. from Southampton, has written since 1985 for Sound Info, Due South, various fanzines and websites, contributed to Record Collector magazine and was sole author of 'Punk Throwback' fanzine -the name of which was taken from an insult hurled at him by the singer with a young band he managed for a while. Ged believes that all good music and art has a connection with punk rock.


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