Adam Ant and The Good, the Mad and the Lovely Posse, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Monday 03 December 2012
"Ridicule is nothing to be scared of,"
bellows a stranger sporting a pirate costume into my ear, his arm wrapped
around my shoulder.
In fact, the whole room's bellowing the lyric and crossing
and uncrossing their arms across their chests as Adam Ant stands and delivers
a sensational version of his number one smash (songs were smashes back in 1981)
Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard) has emerged from a lengthy period out of the limelight (this is the end of his first tour in 17 years), in which he has battled mental health issues (in 2010 he was briefly sectioned) and once threatened to shoot pub-goers in Kentish Town for mocking his appearance.
Well, the 58-year-old dandy highwayman, voted in 1984 the sexiest man in America by MTV viewers, looks resplendent tonight, in his Jack Sparrow-style pirate garb, Hussar waistcoat and spectacles, and his charisma fills every square millimetre of the space.
The New Wave star's
performance is defiantly not ironic, postmodern or meta; there are no knowing
winks and nudges to the audience here. It just is. For all intents and purposes
this could be 1982. He barely acknowledges the modern world at all and his
vigorous set - which benefits hugely from two drummers - is riddled with some
of his tangier, saucier punk numbers from the late 1970s, including "Car
Trouble" ("You might have seen them very busy at the weekends/
licking and polishing the beep beeps") and "Zerox".
Ant rattles through his munificent two-hour, 30-song set, occasionally mumbling unintelligibly between songs, and while his singing voice has never been a thing of immense beauty, his attitude and stage presence most indefatigably are.
He still exudes a punk menace and is in robust voice for standout tracks "Dog Eat Dog" ("It's easy to lay down and hide/ Where's the warrior without his pride?"), the smutty "The Whip in My Valise", "Kings of the Wild Frontier", "Deutscher Girls" and the addictive stomp "Antmusic".
The new tracks, "Cool Zombie" and "Vince Taylor", from his latest album Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunnar's Daughter, don't feel out of place either.
For the six-song encore he strips off his top and tucks into T-Rex's "Get It On" with relish, followed by "Physical (You're So)" and, best of all, "Prince Charming", where men of a certain age (mine) are transported back to their childhood bedrooms, yelling "Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome"...
Review: Of Mice and Men
By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work
Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar
What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?
Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings
The actor has confessed to his own insecurities
Allotments are the focus of a new reality show
Arts & Ents blogs
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Abdullah Deghayes: My son was the martyr of a just cause, says father of British teenager killed in Syria conflict
Ukraine crisis: Helicopter gunships take country closer to all-out war
- 1 Easter egg hunt horror as mother finds dead body under deck of house
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Unbeliebable: The White House offer 'no comment' to anti-Justin Bieber petition
- 4 Loch Ness Monster found on Apple Maps?
- 5 Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers