The Dandy Highwayman Stands and Delivers

Posted on December 12, 2011


Teen heart throb Adam Ant makes a glorious comeback
In his recent punk style band ‘Adam Ant and the Good
The Mad and the lovely posse’

Standing with the audience at the Edinburgh Picture House, I felt a tumult of emotions take place: shock at the turnout of people who arrived; disbelief at the mishmash of the young, the old and the aged; amusement at the turn out of indie hipsters, wearing a new-romance styled pirate attire; and anger at not being dressed in pirate regalia myself.

Stuart Goddard, otherwise known as Adam Ant, was one of the biggest contributors to the quaint genres of music lingering in the 1980s, and saw world-wide success with his pop-phenomena band ‘Adam and the Ants’. However, Goddard has had long ensuing mental health problems, which saw this heart-throb attack the press, chuck televisions through the window of anyone willing to give him a bad write up, and even saw him sectioned for a brief time in 2010.

How odd it was then, when my relatives phoned me in a state of excitement to tell me he was making a come-back tour under a new band called ‘Adam Ant and the Good the Mad and the Lovely Posse’. I must admit, I was very critical of even going to see him: ‘so many bands have made comeback tours’ I thought to myself aloud, ‘and have seen a downward spiral in their recent presentations and showcase gigs’. Let me tell you, my initial thought was far from right.

The gig opened with surreal; Saw like audio clips about the state of rock music in what I can only gather was Adam Ant himself speaking. Then, these riot girl punk bands opened the stage, singing about sex, some more sex, and girl power. The best way to describe them is like Kat Bjelland’s riot girl band ‘Babes in Toyland’ (and if that does not ring a bell, chances are you are an archaic old wartime robot from the Twilight Zone). Then you had the ‘delayed wait’ for the main event to come on, which the crowd cheered like giddy school children in anticipation to Mr Ant’s more than due stage arrival. And there he was:

A cross between his Dandy Highwayman days from the 1980s and Johnny Depp’s captain Jack Sparrow; dressed in that signature pirate regalia, and brandishing an old fashioned, medieval pouch.  He can still move that body like in his younger days, and he still has that ever charming way with his fans; sucking you in, making you want more.

However, the gig showed him delving into his back-catalogue, way beyond the hit sensations which saw him make it big, like Dog Eat Dog, Kings of the Wild Frontier, Puss ‘n Boots, Stand and Deliver, Viva la Rock, Ant Invasion and Wonderful (which all got played, by the way). We got to hear more of his material from his punk-ier days, such as the banned yet fantastic Catholic Day – a song about John F Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, and a song called Cleopatra, a running line of sick innuendos.

The gig had a bit of everything: sex(as his opening bands showed, alongside the lead singer coming back at the end of the gig to tease the audience), banter (he states that ‘Phil Colin’s is the best fucking drummer around’), professional pyrotechnics (skilfully going haywire for his punk pieces) and nostalgia (emitted by both the crowd and Ant himself). We also got a sneak preview of an upbeat, punky tribute song to British rock and roll star Vince Taylor, eponymously entitled ‘Vince Taylor’.

It’s an odd sensation getting to meet that one band you have always wanted to see in your life, but yet never could because they either disbanded or an integral member died. Not saying that I have a long spiralling list of those, but I came out of the gig with a sensation of wonderful content: I finally got to see my man crush, my role model in those angst-ridden teenage days, and in retrospect to last night’s gig, I finally was allowed to be my spiritual, upbeat self which I could only share with an audience of maddened mad hatter’s like myself. Adam Ant’s comeback tour is something not to be missed – see him now, before he goes on that horrible list of never to see again bands.

By Adam Logan

Posted in: Feature