Monday, 24 November 2014

You may not like the things we do; only idiots ignore the truth



There was no Goody Two Shoes, no Prince Charming, no Stand and Deliver. I sincerely hope no-one turned up hoping this was going to be a "Greatest Hits" concert...

Colleagues in the council and I were thrilled to land tickets for last night's final (of four at Islington Assembly Hall) performance by one of the greatest survivors of the Punk and post-Punk eras that made the cusp of the 1970s to the 1980s so exciting, none other than Adam Ant!



This was indeed a concert for the die-hard fans of the former Stuart Goddard, as he and his fantastic new band performed - as promised - the Ants' seminal (and pre-fame'n'fortune) album Dirk Wears White Sox in its entirety. Just as raw, and just as complex and in-yer-face as it ever was when it was released thirty-five years ago (gulp!).

As "Musky03" at Aural Sculptors (one of those very die-hards) put it:
I can't believe that it was all reproduced so well. These songs can be best described as quirky, but the band did a magnificent job on it, especially with the falsetto harmonies that feature frequently across the album... Nine Plan Failed and The Day I Met God were clear highlights, as was Zerox.

Part of the show was given over to acoustic performances of S.E.X. and Picasso (Visita El Planeta De Los Simios). A nod was given to the direction that the Ants took after Malcolm McLaren took the first band when Adam played Kings of the Wild Frontier and Dog Eat Dog. Aside from that only a cover of Dave Berry's Strange Effect and [Vampires] took the set beyond the 1970's Ants. This was manna from heaven... a perfect 1979 time capsule and yet sounding completely contemporary.
And I couldn't agree more!


[That bloody light blinded us for most of the evening]

This was a bizarre, noisy and utterly inspiring evening of rock musicianship at its very best. Accolades must go to the "backing line-up" - guitarists Tom Edwards, Will Crewdson and (original Ant) Leigh Gorman, Joe Holweger on bass, and the two that really captured the "original" Ants sound, drummers Andy Woodard and (the brilliantly be-wigged) Jola.

But it was, of course, the theatrical and bizarre antics and vocal stylings of the UK's favourite pin-up of the early 80s - he's now a bit (ahem) bigger, and, as The Times described him, reminiscent of "a superannuated version of Captain Jack Sparrow"; but he is sixty years old after all! - that made the evening so very, very special indeed.

Here's the live version from the Islington concert of the classic Kings of the Wild Frontier:


One of the mainstays of the Dirk Wears White Sox album, Tabletalk (complete with its very odd video):




And, just because I like to reminisce about those heady days when I first grew to adore Mr Ant and his boys, here's their first chart hit from 1981 - Dog Eat Dog:


You may not like the things we do
Only idiots ignore the truth

It's easy to lay down and hide
Where's the warrior without his pride?

We're gonna move real good
We're gonna dress so fine
It's dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog
Leapfrog the dog
And brush me, daddy-o

It's easy to lay down and hide
Where's the warrior without his pride?

You may not like the things we say
What's the difference, anyway?

We're gonna move real good
We're gonna dress so fine
It's dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog eat dog
Leapfrog the dog
And brush me daddy-o

It makes me proud, so proud of you
I see innocence shining through


Adam Ant (born Stuart Leslie Goddard, 3rd November 1954)

A rather fab interview with Mr Ant in one of Islington's local papers, the Ham and High.

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