21st December 2017
Intro by John Robb (the Membranes and LTW boss)
It’s fair to say that Adam Ant’s triumphant comeback has been a splendid affair.
This week’s gig at the Roundhouse was a triumph with Adam never sounding or looking better with his hits filled set with his current band who sound hot after being on the road for a year that brought a whole new power and meaning to old songs in a seamless set that joined the dots between all different parts of his career.
Perhaps it was always obvious with his theatrical eye that Adam would decades into his career be the most adept of his generation at making sense of a long career with an intensity that made the songs sound vital, urgent and perfect pop.
Whether he goes with bringing this fire and brimstone and wonderful theatrics to the Prince Charming album or release the mooted Bravest Of The Brave new album or keep celebrating these classsics is open to debate but on this form everything is fascinating…
Review number one from David Harris
Yesterday I had no real intention of writing a review at first for this gig as I felt there’s nothing more you can write about a man who’s been amounting a plethora of A-grade reviews over the past few years. Two days later I’ve caved in, I’m writing one, the people need to know just how awesome this gig was. Adam’s showmanship is now once again so fine-tuned, it’s precise and larger than life and makes you feel as if he’s playing just for you personally. His onstage presence fills the room with a magical glow that creates a warmth of happiness. Anyone who attends an Adam Ant gig of late whether male or female it doesn’t matter, you’ll be captivated and make no doubt about this, you’ll be drawn under his spell and that Is guaranteed.
Having seen Adam Ant and his progression back into the realms of superstar performer I already knew my expectations would be met. So with a mad dash drive to London from Birmingham same day round trip, it seemed more than worthwhile after attending three shows in the summer. I was once again off to get another fix knowing I was going to come out of it brimming with joy, which I most certainly did, although I hadn’t banked on the ringing in my ears from the heaviest drum sound I’ve ever heard and felt since once attending a Killing Joke concert. Just like the Killing Joke gig you could feel the drum beats pound hard in your chest and as Adam tapped away on his own body to the beat, you felt like his every move was resonating through you too like some kind of awe-inspiring, mesmerising 4D effect. His hand gestures, his thigh slaps, the climbing up the microphone stand, the jumps, the twirls his stepping on to the monitors and slapping his heel, it’s all part of the Adam Ant package.
The anthems tour was always going to be a dead certainty commercially, something he could even do and the fans would participate and lap up every Christmas as a mini tour if he so wished, there’s a willing audience for it. The musical diversity of Adam’s albums has seen him gain and lose fans along the way yet we all come together for the singles and those rather peculiar Adam Ant b-sides which seem to offer up an often whimsical and sometimes dark trait of the Adam Ant persona. The Dirk and Kings tours of late were always going to be obvious successes too with the fans as they are kindred to a time when Adam was at his height of his success. A Strip tour today probably wouldn’t capture and fire the imagination so much maybe yet now when I hear Adam and the band play ‘Puss n’ Boots’ with the dual drum force of Jola, Andy and all those guitars rocking it up a notch, I become intrigued by how that might sound played with his current line up. Yes, I freely admit I once had a fantasy of the Ants reforming and yet now I’m convinced that the present line up is actually technically better than the famous Ants line up circa 1981. (Did I really just say that? Yep! So deal with it!) it took a while but this line up is the most consistent band he’s ever had, so naturally, they have had time to grow into the songs and absorb them whilst doing each individual one justice, rocking them up to ten and sometimes eleven.
So once again the crowd are jeered up by Carmen’s overture and then they kick off with the rebel rousing B-side ‘Beat My Guest’ slamming in hard and fast as if to say Adam Ant is in the building and you’re gonna fucking know about it! And boy you certainly did! Without even taking a breath between they storm into the 1985 release ‘Vive Le Rock’ like a fully charged power drill! A song sadly overlooked and certainly ahead of its time by a couple years predicting ‘Rockers going Star Wars’ and in 1987 the old rockers certainly did!
Hit after hit followed, ‘Dog Eat Dog’, ‘Apollo 9’, ‘Friend Or Foe’ all with this fantastic beefed up sounding mix that I mentioned earlier could be felt as well as heard. ‘Friend or Foe’ sounded more like the alternative ‘Chris Hughes’ version from the Ant box set without the brass and dual drumming, totally cool!
Adam went on to mention Christmas before treating us to ‘Ant Music’. In 1980 ‘Ant Music’ had risen to number 7 in the Christmas charts. Into the new year the death of John Lennon denied Adam of the top spot and sandwiched between two John Lennon singles. I bet no one thought of adding that to Mark Chapman’s sentencing….the bastard!!!!
‘Room At The Top’ followed with the dual drum beat that took it a lifetime away from the dated André Cymone 1990 production to fit snugly into the earlier formula of the original Ant music sound. This band have most certainly mastered the knack of presenting all these songs into what I deem as the Ant music formula, heard clearly on the ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ era and then to some degree on ‘Friend Or Foe’ and ‘Vive Le Rock’ albums. I guess only a fan would know what I mean by that statement. During ‘Room At The Top’ Adam stumbled backwards for what seemed like an eternity, but didn’t actually fall and like most people these days you don’t question are they alright it’s usually the thought of £250 of you caught it on camera and your clip gets aired on ‘You’ve Been Framed’, …….well at least I do!
The pre-CBS singles were played. Adam reminiscing about his father’s car before playing ‘Car Trouble’, ‘Zerox’ with all those guitars and ghoulish choir sounding backing vocals were an absolute aural treat. Then ‘Young Parisians’ puts guitarist Will Crewdson’s into the spotlight, stunning and somewhat delightful, certainly makes up for the lack of saxophone that appears on the single.
Though the ‘Prince Charming’ 7” hit the charts at number 2 in September 1981, I always associate it with Christmas as being one of my most memorable presents opening the album for a pink ticket to fall out of the gatefold and then running around as a ten year old like Charlie Bucket. Seeing Adam play this song live now tugs at the heartstrings, it drips effervescently with nostalgia, it’s off-kilter construction coupled with that image and the grandeur of the video still have an impact and relevance to this day. With nothing else like it, it’s great to see Adam perform it now in the present and then bask in its glory with the audience participation at the end, it is a totally heartfelt moment of reflection.
One of the biggest highlights for everyone is watching Adam play ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ soaked in vitality and adrenaline. He stops to catch his breath before moving it’s as if he saves a ton of energy for it and let’s loose at one hundred percent fully charged at the eager crowd.
Adam ditched ‘Can’t Set Rules About Love’ after a few shows earlier in the year. After announcing love songs came later in his career, I thought we were going to have the song ‘Wonderful’ so it was a pleasant surprise to hear that again. It’s a song that could have easily been a hit had MCA not released the album with exactly the same version just after the the success of ‘Room At The Top’! More hits more album sales. MCA? MCU – Mighty Cock Up!
‘Christian D’or’ was quite interesting as Adam became lost in the moment and started to sing the CBS version lyric “Big man, big shoes” in reference to the Ants before stopping himself and there was a sort of halt in his performance as the band played on. Made me wonder if he was giving the old Ants some thought at that stage in the proceeding.
Talking of B-sides, we had quite a few the forever crowd-pleasing sleazy sounding ‘Greta X’ then B-Side Baby with Adam playing the harmonica whilst the band sings the chorus.
Who here can honestly watch him play ‘Stand And Deliver’ without thinking of the video? Such a huge impact made on the music industry and pre MTV too. Stand and Deliver with it’s storyboarded video to this day is still ingrained on many a fans psyche and it still attracts new fans every time it’s aired on TV. ‘Stand and Deliver’ really is a stroke of genius and a well-deserved number one single. In retrospect, though I actually believe Benny HIll’s 1970 hit ‘Ernie’ is one of the first storyboarded videos.
On to the encore and after ‘Goody Two Shoes’ his only solo number one and biggest US hit he treated us to ‘Lady’ which was an A-side in Japan both executed to precision then rolls on into ‘Fall-in’. The momentum of combining those two is astounding and then somewhat lost when he slows down for ‘Red Scab’ at which point towards the end I decided to make a dash towards the entry as I didn’t fancy the hustle and bustle of the crowd and the stairs and get a head start home. I missed ‘Physical’ but I know that it ended superbly and every fan went home contented and looking forward to their next Ant instalment whenever that may be! He certainly delivered the goods once again!
Adam is on the cover of this months Vive Le Rock magazine …. treat yourself why don’t ya? It is Christmas
Review number 2 from Eileen Shapiro
With a raging blast of orgasmic splendor, Adam Ant captured the stage with what escalated into a vibrant display of flamboyant confidence and an effervescent sensibility, all a prelude to the best live concert in last 40 years. Combining the lush energy of rock, the radical emotions of punk, and the raw nakedness of light industrial metal, Adam has always defied genre, representing his own musical orchestration, and branding him unique.
After a successfully sold out “Anthems: Single Tour” in the U.K., and the U.S., and then a back to back “Kings of the Wild Frontier Tour” in New Zealand and Australia, Adam and the band featured a sparkling diamond performance celebrating year’s end at the historic Roundhouse in Camden. Adam has cultivated an international reputation for enthralling live performances, each show a new and unique experience. It is through this stagecraft that he has gained the love and respect of loyal fans everywhere, Last night became the icing on the cake.
Looking salaciously decadent, fit and buff, Adam effortlessly opened with “Beat My Guest”, causing a wild frenzy amongst the fanatics straight off. Adam’s superstar quality shined through the entire two hour concert. He appeared animated and whimsical, smiling frequently, and obviously having a titanic blast himself. There is an unspoken bond between Adam Ant fans and Adam, almost like a family, a unity…..and fans were specifically commenting on how if they were to choose their favorite songs, they would have selected those Adam performed .
Aside from Adam’s prolific sound, his band proved tighter than ever. The crashing of the skins by Jola and Andy literally shook the walls of the tremendous venue, complimenting Joe’s deep and fastidious bass riffs. Although way up high and in the back, these drummers make themselves known. Guitarist A.P. fits the band like a tight glove. Will, whom some consider one of the best guitarist around played his instrument dexterously and fluently. At the finish of “Physical”, always the last encore song, the band went into a frenzied, musical, chaotic, revulsion, ending the show in an uproarious titillation. They all the best of the best, as far as musicians go, matching Adam’s musical attitude, style, wit, and glam.
Adam vocally reached the highest point that one can possibly hope for last night. A genuine entertainer, he danced about the stage with the energy of an erupting volcano, causing massive joy for the entire congregation. An audience reacts to an artist who is truly enjoying himself on stage…and last night Adam was tendering a gregarious event.
The Glitter City girls, known as the “Glam Skanks”, dazzled the crowd with their supporting set, the finish to their own European tour. It’s always a blast to sing along to “Fuck Off” and I was glad to hear a brand new song added to the set. Veronica, I love the new look.
For those who had the misfortune to miss Adam’s final show of the year, he will be heading to the US. On January 26 you can find him at K-Earth 101’S Totally Live at the Honda Center in California. He will also be making up the hurricane days in Florida, Clearwater: January 31, Jacksonville: February 2, and Orlando: February 3. Adam will also be in Phoenix January 28. If you have the chance to catch anyone of these performances, then be aware you’re in for a life-changing experience.