This review is dedicated to the memory of Danny De Jong who along with his brother Phil were the first people to get me into Adam & The Ants around the time the first single came out when they were busy writing or stencilling Adam's logo on any spare bit of wall they could find. I like to think that if Danny had made it out of his teens he might have been standing with me at this gig still enjoying Adams music after all these years.
Well it was our first visit to Roman Abramovitch's new rock club underneath the away end of Stamford Bridge football ground and what a swanky place it is too. It has to have the best toilets I've ever seen in a music venue as well as being very well kitted out with a great gallery of classic rock and music photography all over the place as well as state of the art sound that had only one fault on the night: it wasnt loud enough to drown out the folks who needed to talk all night long. Of course the drinks weren't cheap, and the tickets were a touch overpriced which ensured that the first of Adams two nights here hadn't sold out- a pity all things considered.
We got in just after 8.30 and with the doors opening at 8 we thought we'd see all the support but had missed first band Krakatoa entirely and only caught the last three songs by Dressing For Pleasure. They are three rather sexily dressed women who are garage-y borderline burlesque rock and were a lot of fun. They finished with a very cool and tongue in cheek version of the Clash's Should I Stay or Should I go. They would go down well at the Gypsy Hotel or similar nights.
It wasn't long before it was time for ADAM ANT and THE GOOD THE MAD AND THE LOVELY POSSE who are his new rather ungainly named band. They have - in proper Ant style - two drummers, a guitarist and bass player and two backing singers as well as Adam who plays a mean Gretsch at times as well as singing and looking fabulous in his pirate gear. They opened with Plastic Surgery and right from the off it was clear that all the worries that Adam had lost it in the wilderness years were totally wrong and he is back back back!!
Dog Eat Dog still sounds great after all these years and Adam looked like he was really enjoying being back on stage. Beat my Guest was played furiously with some nice guitar work from (I think) Chris McCormack ex of 3 Colours Red (finding the band line-up is not easy except for the bands most notorious member). They were also going all over Adams back catalogue with a great version of Kick that was followed by the legendary Car Trouble and Xerox, two of my favourite early Ant tunes.
He then brought out the Lovely part of the posse his two backing singers (one of whom is Georgina Baille who is also his girlfriend) and who I first saw dancing in a cage at Sin City nightclub just before she was splashed all over the tabloids for her part in the Sachsgate affair with Russell Brand. (Thanks to DJ Steve for giving me the inside info on his friend while we were having a nightcap afterwards down the road where he was working.) The first song he did with the girls was Deutscher Girls and they made a good job of playing up to the songs lyrics.
Adam then unveiled the first of his number one singles Stand and Deliver. It still sounds just as good and also just as good a reason for a good part of his original fan base to run away, just as he became really popular. Still, there was plenty of Room At The Top when like Adam you wish to make a political statement about The Kings of The Wild Frontier: still a great blast of a song.
Wonderful had a good introduction before he convinced us that we were all wonderful and in need of some Ant Music, well if we weren't we were in the wrong place. Then Adam pointed out that we should Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face), sterling advice well sung, but then of course Adam spent time inbetween songs having a pop at some of his detractors and the tabloid stories about him were a good way of announcing Desperate But Not Serious which was followed by another number one courtesy of Goody Two Shoes.
They went proper punk for Vive Le Rock, a song that sounds almost better than the T-shirt it inspired or was it the other way round? Still Adam let on that the song after it was about his like for the good things in life as he dug out Christian Dior from the dark corners of his songbook before giving us the history lesson that is Fall-In, all about going to the Screen On The Green back in the days when they had seismic Punk gigs there. It was a pretty good set closer.
It has to be said it took some doing to get the crowd to start clapping and cheering to get Adam back, but it also seemed like he couldn't wait to be back in front of us and opened the encore with his obscure Flexidisc reworking of Village peoples Y.M.C.A. as A.N.T.S. complete with his backing singers doing the reworked dance moves. It was very funny and cool to hear it live and it was followed by the gloriously un-PC Fat Fun before we had to get out our dance moves again for Prince Charming: yet another number one of course and a prelude to a surprise romp through T-Rex's Get It On.
There was a little more cheering than the first time and Adam quickly came back even if the audience reaction didn't deserve it. He was going to give us another encore now just Strip and take it, well by this Point Adam had stripped down from his pirate gear during the set and was now in one of his own tour shirts that he ripped off himself and threw into the crowd while the two backing singers stripped off a couple of layers of clothes to be even less scantily clad!!
It was just in time for some more T-Rex and a storming version of 20th Century Boy which only left time for Adams normal show closer Physical to round off a good gig that makes me want to hear the new material. His album that is on the way as he continues to tour the UK for most of the rest of the year. Go and see him if you can.