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"...
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
Seinfeld is laughing all the way to the bank: TV show generates $3.1bn in repeat fees since final episode
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Blade Runner sequel: Harrison Ford confirmed to return with Denis Villeneuve directing
All fiction follows one of six basic storylines, according to new research
House of Cards season 3 premiere, review: Has Frank Underwood gone soft?
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East