Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The return of a charming prince

After a 15-year absence, Adam Ant returned to the UK stage last night at the Concorde 2, Brighton, a relatively intimate venue holding about 500 people.

The evening got off to a fairly dismal start to be honest. The first support act, whose name was conspicuous in its absence, were so dreadful we barely made it to the end of the first song before returning to the bar. The trio, two scantily-clad female guitarist/singers and a male drummer, could well have come to the stage direct from their first ever music lesson. They had little stage presence, the lead guitarist couldn't take her eyes off her fingers for her chord changes, the singer hit as many bum notes as true, and the look of concentration on the drummer's face was worthy of someone sitting an astrophysics exam.

The second support, Krakatoa, a five-piece guitar band were refreshingly competent and they managed to hold the attention of the burgeoning crowd.

Finally, after a teasing half-hour wait, Adam Ant and his new band The Good, The Mad and the Lovely Posse, appeared. Ant, doing a passable impression of Jack Sparrow, resplendent in pirate hat, highwayman jacket and, presumably as a nod to his advancing years, a pair of spectacles, delivered a surprisingly polished performance. There was plenty of solo material, both recognisable and new, but he didn't let down the majority of the crowd who were looking for a nostalgic return to the late 70s and early 80s. We were treated to Ant Music, Kings of the Wild Frontier, Prince Charming and Goody Two Shoes, one of which was introduced with the words "Oh, OK, here's another f*cking hit!" It's surely one of the downsides to making a comeback after such a long time away - the vast majority of your crowd will be there because they liked you the first time round and will expect to hear the songs that made them fans in the first place. A personalised and reworked version of YMCA - called AATA - went down well, as did their rendition of Get It On during the encore.

He certainly appeared to be enjoying himself and wasn't above a bit of self-deprecation. Having complimented one of his backing singers on her new and improved cleavage, he said "Good way to spend my money - what's left of it!", bringing a giggle from the diverse crowd.

He's had his problems and his glory days remain a good two decades behind him, but Adam Ant can still put on a damn good show.

We stood. He delivered.