THERE could not be two more contrasting shows by two defining figures of post-Seventies English rock with no need for a second name, chipper southerner Suggs, 57, and northern misery Morrissey, 58.

Camden ska/music hall veterans Madness continue to roll out albums of nous and tunefulness, but frontman Suggs has developed a second career too as a raconteur of wit, wisdom, poignancy and self-deprecation.

His first collection of anecdotes and acoustic songs, My Life Story In Words and Music, brought him to the Grand Opera House in 2012 with stories of Madness's rise and his absent father's drug addiction: the good bits and the dark moments, as he put it.

He called the show a memoir, not a stand-up gig, nor An Evening With, and What A King Cnut, A Life In The Realm Of Madness is more of the same and even better, still in the company of loyal pianist-cum-manservant, Deano Mumford, The Rifles’ keyboards player, whose laconic interjections recall Sir John Gielgud in Arthur and Michael Caine in the Batman movies.

Suggs enters in a rain mac and shaggy wig, seeking to turn back the waters, as if he were King Canute, before the first of many stories where drink played its part: whether annoying Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie at Glastonbury or Queen's Restoration-haired Brian May more than once or the staff of the Groucho Club, each tale funnier than the last, and never once meaning to cause offence.

There were Madness stories too: the early days of petty thieving and botched jobs; a recollection of forgetting his opening line at the 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony. And then came the poignant revelation: learning he had a sister, given away for adoption, but now reunited and, as it happens, sitting in Sunday's audience. What a punchline from a showman still in top form, irresistibly likeable, cheeky and charming.

York Press:

 Morrissey: "too many songs are lumpen, leaden, thug-guitar drones" 

Morrissey has done the autobiographical bit too, but in print, in the egotistical, contrary, sometimes spiteful yet lyrical Autobiography. It might have been interesting to turn it into a stage show, but his chat-show appearances have been awkward, and the charm, the wit, the outsider who spoke for so many, has all but disappeared, like the tunefulness of his new plain, platitudinous songs.

Unlike Suggs, Morrissey intends to cause offence, particularly in his now boorish defence of free speech, but he remains a grimly fascinating if fading force on stage, hence the full house. He precedes his muscular, but unmoving set with a rousing half-hour video celebration of James Brown, James Baldwin, Dionne Warwick, The Ramones and the New York Dolls, his icons all, and opens with an Elvis cover, You'll Be Gone, the King in his prime on the screen behind him.

Like latterday Elvis, the figure is fuller, the voice still strong, but the comments between numbers are idiosyncratic, curt and perverse; and Spent The Day In Bed aside, too many songs are lumpen, leaden, thug-guitar drones, drawn largely from this year's often risible Low In High School and 2014's World Peace Is None Of Your Business. The reawakening of The Smiths' How Soon Is Now? only emphasises the decline and he even unnecessarily plays around with Everyday Is Like Sunday.

Final score: Madness 1, Maddening 0.