Review and Photos by Paul Broome
I don’t think it would be overegging the pudding if I said that Adam Ant was my Elvis. His was the first music I obsessed over, the first album I bought, he was the first person I impersonated in front of the mirror. To see him not only back but cut free from the pop industry machine that trapped and ultimately supressed him is a wonderful thing. The recent brand new double album (Adam Ant Is The BlueBlack Hussar In Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter) was like a breath of fresh air – raw, pure and unfettered by expectation – it was 100% Adam Ant. So when I noticed that the current leg of his tour was coming through the Midlands I jumped at the chance to head along.
Knowing that one of my favourite young bands would be supporting him only cemented my desire to get to Leicester. New Killer Shoes are accompanying Adam on the whole of this April UK tour, after being personally chosen from around 500 bands who submitted recordings to him in order to win the support slot, and by all accounts they’ve been doing a sterling job of winning new fans amongst the Ant People. Tonight’s performance was everything we’ve come to expect from the lads, no energy spared they clattered through a tight 30 minute set drawn from the debut album I Ain’t Even Lyin’ – down to Earth but out of this world. Regular set closer ‘Love Rocket’ shook the Academy to its core, and saw them leave the stage to tumultuous applause. If they keep winning over other people’s audiences at this rate, it will only be a short amount of time before they’re the ones choosing support acts.
After a lengthy and smoked-filled intro Adam Ant takes the stage to a crescendo of crowd noise and kicks straight into the title track of the recent album ‘Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter’, and so begins a hundred and ten minutes of incessant enthusiasm, personality and wall-to-wall entertainment. The new tracks already sound like classics, with songs such as ‘Stay In The Game’, ‘Vince Taylor’, ‘Cool Zombie’ and the storming ‘Shrink’ pulling as much of a sing and stomp-a-long from the crowd as the bona fide ‘hits’ of old. The choice of material is absolutely spot on, as well as the great selection from the new album there are plenty of songs from fan-favourite Dirk Wears White Sox (that first album of mine that I mentioned earlier!) with ‘Cartrouble’, ‘Zerox’, ‘Cleopatra’, ‘Whip In My Valise’ and even ‘Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face)’ getting a deserved airing.
And we haven’t even touched those ‘hits’ yet – all of which are present and correct – ‘Antmusic’, ‘Goody Two Shoes’, ‘Kings of the Wild Frontier’, ‘Ant Invasion’, ‘Vive Le Rock’ and a brilliant ‘Prince Charming’ kicked off by Adam on his Les Paul with those unmistakable chords.
A special mention has to be made to the current incarnation of his band, which sound perfectly tight, rock hard and allow Adam the freedom and confidence to do his thing. I would urge anyone who has the chance to get along and see Adam live, especially if you haven’t seen him in the flesh before – it’s one hell of a show, and you are guaranteed to enjoy every second of it. This not just someone living on past glories (unlike many of his contemporaries) – this is an artist as vital today as he was thirty years ago. Still creating; still vital; still filled to the brim of his Hussar’s hat with energy and that essence of mystery that makes him so captivating – buoyed by his new found liberty and a sea of appreciative fans.
My favourite gig of the year so far. Hell, quite possibly my favourite gig of the last five years… An electric atmosphere, a storming support act, and a crowd full of smiles, singing and satisfaction. What a night.