House of Blues, April 14

“Well listen, buster, you better start to move your feet to the rockingest, rock-steady beat of Madness!” So went the instructions before the saxophone took over in “One Step Beyond,” the raucous opening salvo from the English ska pioneers.

Armed with humor, joyous dancing and four (sometimes five) kick-ass horns, the 10-man band worked the crowd, keeping the vibe light, the energy high and the audience happy. Lead singer Suggs and secondary lead Chas Smith were on point with “House Of Fun” and “Night Boat To Cairo.” Famous single “Our House” was every bit as good as it should be.

Each member displayed a host of varied abilities, touching genres that ranged from reggae to punk to calypso. Saxophonist Lee Thompson led the crowd in a chorus of “Viva Las Vegas” and opened the encore with a thrilling scat number. Keyboardist Mike Barson constantly added interesting riffs.

Of all the Coachella spillover shows this past weekend, there was none better. This was Madness’ first Las Vegas show since 1998, but we hope the excitement of the packed house will bring back the Brits sooner. After all, they must realize the response of the crowd was equal to their popular title, “It Must Be Love.” ★★★★☆

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By Jason Scavone

A Gwar show is a rite of passage for any metal fan. For me, it came 20-some-odd years into my fandom, but you know what they say: Better late to the headless-body-squirting-blood-from-its-neck-stump-during-the-first-song party than never to the headless-body-squirting-blood-from-its-neck-stump-during-the-first-song party. With all the joie de vivre of a Troma film making sweaty love to an Anthrax album, Gwar delivered a taut set of surprisingly competent speed/thrash metal for 60 short minutes.