2004–2010: The Dangermen and The Liberty of Norton Folgate

In 2004, the band played a series of low-key concerts as The Dangermen, performing covers of classic reggae and ska songs. A lot of the songs were those played by the band when they were first forming,[51] and the band performed the songs as a celebration of their 25th anniversary.[51]

This led to the release of the album The Dangermen Sessions Vol. 1 on V2 Records in August 2005. During the sessions which produced the album, in mid-2005, guitarist Chris Foreman announced his departure, citing “the petty, time consuming bollocks that goes on in the band” as his reason for leaving.[52] The band completed the album without him, and on release, it peaked at no. 11 in the UK Albums Chart, which was the band’s highest studio album chart position in 21 years. Although two singles were released, neither was a major success in the UK. The more successful of the two, “Shame & Scandal”, reached number 38, but was more successful in France where it peaked at number 12.[53] “Girl Why Don’t You?” did not chart and the band left the V2 record label shortly after. At this time, Kevin Burdette joined as the band’s guitarist for live appearances and also appeared in the videos for both “Sorry” and “NW5” in early 2007.

The six remaining original members of Madness began working on their first original album in seven years.

In March 2007, the non-LP single “Sorry” was released on the band’s own record label Lucky 7 Records, peaking in the UK charts at number 23. The single included a version featuring UK hip hop artists Sway DaSafo and Baby Blue.

The new Madness song “NW5” (then still titled “NW5 (I Would Give You Everything)”) and a re-recorded version of “It Must Be Love” were featured in the German film Neues vom Wixxer. The two songs were released in Germany as a double A-Side, and both of them were turned into music videos, which – besides members of the film’s cast – featured Suggs, Chas Smash, Woody and stand-in guitarist Burdette. A re-recorded version of “NW5” was released as a single on 14 January 2008 in the UK reaching no. 24 – this recording featured original Madness guitarist Chris Foreman, who had rejoined the band in time for the 2006 Christmas tour but had not participated in the original recording of the song.

In June 2008, Madness played the majority of their new album The Liberty of Norton Folgate at London’s Hackney Empire for three nights. The Hackney Empire performances were recorded and sold to fans on USB wristbands as they left the show. Madness played two dates in December 2008, firstly in Manchester on 18 December, and secondly a return gig to The O2 in London on the 19th.

In December 2008 the band also announced that for their thirtieth anniversary in 2009, they would be staging a fifth Madstock Festival in London’s Victoria Park on 17 July, 11 years after the last Madstock concert. It was originally rumoured that the newly reformed The Specials would make an appearance after finishing their reunion tour. However, this did not occur, although original Specials keyboardist Jerry Dammers – who was not part of the reunion line-up – was announced as a support act with The Spatial AKA Orchestra shortly before the festival. Dammers supported Madness again during their 2009 Christmas tour when he opened each night with a DJ set.

Through late March and early April 2009, the band played a series of festival and separate headlining dates across Australia. The lead-up single from their latest album, entitled “Dust Devil”, was released on 11 May on Lucky 7 Records. Alfie Allen and Jaime Winstone co-starred in the music video. The single charted at No. 64 on the UK Singles Chart and at No. 1 on the UK Independent charts on 17 May 2009.

The new album, entitled The Liberty of Norton Folgate, was released a week later, on 18 May 2009. It charted at No. 5 in the UK Albums Chart. The band continued to play various festivals, including Pinkpop, Splendour, and Glastonbury.[54] On 27 September 2009, the band also played a free concert on a closed-off Regent Street in association with Absolute Radio.

On 28 August, Madness played the Rock en Seine festival near Paris, on the same night where Oasis brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher engaged in a physical altercation, resulting in the split of the band. As Oasis cancelled their headlining slot, Madness, even though having played earlier in the evening, were asked to replace them. They accepted the invitation and both of their sets during the festival were said to have been well received.[citation needed]

As in previous years, the band embarked on a Christmas tour of the UK (also playing one concert in Dublin), playing at various medium-sized venues. Mark Bedford took a break from the band and was replaced by Graham Bush for the tour.

Some members of the band appeared in Catherine Tate’s Nan’s Christmas Carol. They first posed as carol singers, then played “Baggy Trousers” over the credits. On 18 January 2010, Madness released a fourth single, “Forever Young”, from The Liberty of Norton Folgate. The single failed to chart.

During an interview with RTÉ 2fm radio host Dave Fanning on 24 May 2010, drummer Daniel Woodgate stated that the members of the band were in the final stages of preparing songs for the follow-up to The Liberty of Norton Folgate. The band hoped to be able to start recording the album later on in 2010.[55]

In September 2010, Madness were awarded the Idol Award at the Q Awards in London. Guitarist Chris Foreman stated in his acceptance speech that Madness were recording a new album.

Madness toured the UK throughout November and December 2010 with their final show at London’s Earl’s Court, where they played a new song from their upcoming album. However, two concerts, in Hull and Sheffield, were cancelled due to heavy snowfall, although they were later rescheduled for 5 and 6 February 2011 respectively.