I must confess that this is only the second time that I have seen Adam Ant play live. The first time was back in the late 70s, probably 1978 in London. I remember thinking of this relatively new band, Adam and the Ants, that they were ok and had a good name. I certainly never expected the Ants Invasion that followed a few years later. Nor would I have predicted that I would be watching Mr Ant play a gig in my adopted home city of York all these years later. More of the headline show in a moment.
But first let me say what a stonkingly brilliant support act there was last night. It was a young band called the UK Feds who hail from somewhere near Birmingham I believe. They play superbly crafted power pop punk songs with the gravitas and style of great bands like the Ruts, the Members, the Clash and early Manic Street Preachers. The UK Feds are a political band, but in a good way. Personally anyone who states that they believe that this country is run by a bunch of pricks is alright with me. They have some excellent songs, many of which are included on their exclusive tour CD which I bought for a mere £10 and which has been my commute to and from work soundtrack all day. “Pissed Up World” and “London” are my current favourites. The Feds also played a deft, tight and brilliant cover of Prince’s “Sign Of The Times”. If you are going to see any of the Adam Ant shows on this tour then make sure you turn up in time to see the UK Feds. They have the potential to go a long way. I for one would definitely pay to see them again. Well done lads!
It was then time for the main attraction Adam Ant and his band played the whole of the classic 1980 album ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier‘. From album and show opener “Dog Eat Dog” everyone stood up and pretty much most of us never sat down for the rest of the night. Yes even at our advanced ages! As well as the first song the other singles “Ant Music” and “Kings Of The Wild Frontier” went down a storm. But for me some of the other tracks were enhanced in a live environment. Notably “Los Rancheros”, “Making History” and “Jolly Roger”. The latter two being among my favourite Adam Ant songs. Adam waited until after an amazing run through of the whole album before speaking to the audience, very much his audience. This is a man who is totally at home on stage and who totally understands his audience. If there is such a thing then Adam Ant is a true showman.
His stage antics are not those of a 61-year-old man. I hope I can move as well as him when I am his age in three and a half years! Although I doubt that I would look as good in leather trousers. The second half of the show was made up of a great mix of big hits, B-sides and obscurities. When you hear just the big hits you realise what a great talent the former Stuart Goddard is. He played “Stand And Deliver”, “Desperate But Not Serious”, “Prince Charming”, “Vive Le Rock” and “Goody Two Shoes” and I would have left satisfied with just that and the entire album from the first half. But on top of that we got “Car Trouble” and “Never Trust A Man With Egg On His Face” from the early days and classic B-Sides “Physical” and “Press Darlings”. The crowd sang along to every song even if they (including me) couldn’t remember all the words. Adam Ant turned “Prince Charming” into a proper crowd sing along even allowing us a short a capella moment. I must also mention his incredible band including the expected two drummers providing that loud Burundi style beat.
One of the encore songs was a surprising but rather good cover of the T Rex number one “Get It On”. Let me end with a message to Adam Ant; thank you for a truly excellent show which ranks among the best gigs I have seen and I’m sorry it took so long to see you again. My good wife Catwoman also loved the show and that is high praise indeed and obviously I mean that in a very, very good way. There are still a few UK dates left on this tour and if you’re not already booked then I suggest you get hold of a ticket by any means necessary, well as long as no one gets hurt. Also selling your Granny might not be a good idea as she might want to come to the show with you! Adam Ant a legend among Ants and Men. Enjoy a few videos courtesy of YouTube, starting with some recent live recordings and followed by some classic Ant videos. (Pictures were all taken using my bashed up Nokia phone.