Gig review: Adam Ant


ADAM Ant has endured a rocky ride in recent years, characterised by some very public mental breakdowns, but there was goodwill to spare from this capacity crowd, as old age punks and former teenyboppers converged to show their support for the punk pop star.

Taking his sartorial lead from Cap'n Jack Sparrow these days, the dandy pirateman led his band (sadly, not the Ants) through a patchy set which would have pleased some of the people some of the time, kicking off with one of Adam & the Ants' first recordings, Plastic Surgery, and swiftly dispatching early single Zerox and the Clash-like Cartrouble.

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The sound mix was scrappy, with the band often drowning out their leader, while the two cavorting backing singers were barely audible, dampening any supposed coquettish interplay with their frontman.

The signature dual drummer set-up worked best when teamed with the crunchy guitar of the pop chants, whipping up some tribal power on Dog Eat Dog and Stand & Deliver. Despite making clear his ambivalence towards the hits, these were attacked with great alacrity. Antmusic and Deutscher Girls were a riot, Goody Two Shoes was daft fun and Kings Of The Wild Frontier was a reminder of what a fascinating playground pop music was in the Ants' heyday.

He talked candidly about his wilderness years and received a warm cheer for Wonderful, the title track of his last solo album before his breakdown. Unfortunately, the song was far from wonderful. It was this determination to visit the lesser corners of his catalogue, along with an inability to let things lie, which threatened to unravel the performance.

The mainly terrible encore, culminating in a hoary version of Physical (You're So), was mitigated only by a bare bones rock version of Prince Charming, possessed by the spirit of Screamin' Jay Hawkins.