The Adam Ant comeback continues apace with another album from his back catalogue in the spotlight on his current tour. His debut 1982 solo outing, Friend or Foe, can hardly claim classic status but it did maintain the momentum generated by Adam and the Ants and his position as the nation’s favourite dandy pop star.
Adam Ant, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow ***
Nearly four decades on, it sounds like a model for any mainstream pop star who aspires to push the musical envelope – One Direction’s most intriguing graduate Harry Styles springs to mind. Ant’s advantage, however, was that he cut his teeth in the anything-goes DIY demi-monde of punk and upheld his roots throughout his career, even at its more cartoonish.
Now in his mid-60s, he can still convince as a flamboyant frontman, spurred by his swashbuckling band who drove the gothic drama of Friend or Foe’s title track, swiftly followed by the punk vaudeville of Something Girls and glam rock of Desperate But Not Serious.
Yet this was overall a dutiful performance in a relatively antiseptic space, lacking that energy boost until the pop rockabilly of Goody Two Shoes, which injected some mischief and insouciance into the performance.
With the album dispatched in its entirety, Ant brought out the big guns, including the frenetic Dog Eat Dog and double drummer action of Kings of the Wild Frontier, while leaving ample room in the set for the earlier punk material and an encore consisting entirely of b-sides, capped by the garage rock maelstrom of Physical (You’re So).