Still touring and having reinvented himself as “The Blue Black Hussar”, Adam Ant has put together a short tour to play his debut 1979 album “Dirk Wears White Sox” and a few of the well known Adam Ant hits. Alongside his usual backing band The Good, The Mad and The Lovely (including guitarist Will Crewdson who previously played in the band Rachael Stamp), he’s got original Ants Dave Barbarossa on drums and Leigh Gorman on bass. The sold out crowd is a mix of punk devotees and followers of the “Prince Charming” Adam Ant era but first they’ve got to listen to the album that was an underground success but not a mainstream one.
The leather clad “Adam-as-Dirk” who launches into “Car Trouble”, the first track on the album, still maintains his edgy, unpredictable persona of old, something that could never be manufactured in these empty Pop Idol, X Factor-lite times. The album was forged at a time before punk just meant mohicans and safety pins, mixing art school Rock, Free Jazz and Rock ‘n’ Roll along with themes laced with sexuality and dark humour.
The band sound great, the powerful drumming of Dave Barbarossa and Yola forming a great foundation on which the rest of the band can let rip. He mentions that people thought him arrogant to write a song called “The Day I Met God” but says that he doesn’t care before launching into the song. Adam Ant is also in good voice, he genuinely seems to be enjoying performing this classic album and the moshing crowd at the front of the stage seem to agree with him.
He stops to say that a recent review of a gig in Yeovil was factually incorrect as he was criticised for not playing certain songs, saying he did in fact play them and doesn’t know what the journalist in question was talking about, but he says he won’t swear because his mum is in the audience. He finishes this half of the set with a slowed down version of “Whip In My Valise” and proceeds to start changing his clothes behind a screen that has been brought onto the stage for the second half of the show.
Kicking off with “Dog Eat Dog”, it’s clear that this part of the show will be a greatest hits package but it’s good that he also plays “Wonderful” and “Strip” (on which I think Phil Collins drummed on the album version). He insists that he still means every word of this next song before launching into a frenzied version of “Kings Of The Wild Frontier”. They also play “Vive le Rock” and Adam brings out guitarist Boz Boorer to play acoustic guitar on the remaining songs. Adam Ant tells a short anecdote about how he got Marc Bolan’s autograph when a friend he was with didn’t want to bother him then plays “Get It On” and “20th Century Boy” in tribute.
All in all this show was a great mix of punk and pop. The edgy first album sounded great in its entirety and the pop stylings of the Prince Charming era was entertaining in the 80’s and still entertains now.