Adam Ant & The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse - York, The Duchess - 7th October 2011 Print E-mail
Written by Ben Hughes   
Saturday, 15 October 2011 05:00



I was ten years old when I bought Adam & the Ants' 'Stand And Deliver' single, the first of many singles that I purchased by them. Adam & the Ants were the first real band I became a fan of, buying Smash Hits and Look In for posters to stick up on my wall; I remember buying several copies of one issue that had a free skull and crossbones earring - remember that anyone?
Me and my brother both spent many hours in our room listening to 'Kings Of The Wild Frontier', 'Prince Charming' and 'Dirk Wears White Sox', still to this day those albums stand up as classics to a lot of us. I loved the pirate and indian imagery, and would spend hours drawing the ant logos. The cool, thought-provoking lyrics always intrigued me; stuff like 'Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face)' and 'Catholic Day' from 'Dirk Wears White Sox' made me think about lyrics even from that early age. I followed Adam's career with interest over the years and, when word came out that he was touring, I never imagined he would come to play in York. When a date was announced at The Duchess in June it sold out that day - I was gutted I didn't get a ticket and thought my chance to finally see the Dandy Highwayman had passed forever.
It seems he enjoyed York so much that he booked another date, playing The Duchess again as part of a short series of shows warming up for his forthcoming Winter tour. This time I managed to grab tickets. The 500 capacity venue didn't sell out this time but was pretty busy by the time the band hit the stage to the sound of 'Plastic Surgery' and you can just tell from the start that things are going to hot up.
Adam looks resplendent in his pirate hat, Kings-era military jacket and black rimmed glasses, he could be Captain Jack Sparrow's long lost cousin and it suits him down to the ground. For a man the wrong side of fifty he is looking pretty damn good.
Always a star who prides himself on his performance he doesnt let us down; it's a dream set for me, heavily featuring songs from the early years, including the more obscure B-side babies that many people maybe don't know but are classics. Personal favourite Ant songs like 'Beat My Guest' and 'Fall In' and even 'Deutscher Girls' were aired, and what a joy it is to finally hear these songs live, I can now die a happy man.
Want two drummers? We get two drummers, pretty essential for the trademark tribal beats of 'Dog Eat Dog' and 'Kings Of The Wild Frontier', wouldn't you say? The backing singers are ant300eye candy but not seemingly essential to the Ant sound, he doesn't really need them but I am not going to complain. The Good, The Mad and the Lovely Posse are tight and play it straight, but eyes generally flick between the girls and the guy we are here to see.
My joy is interrupted though as a woman beside me takes offence to me jumping up and down to the strains of 'Stand & Deliver'...what the fuck? Some people really don't get it, do they? If I wanted to stand there with my arms folded and a stern look on my face I would've gone to see Radiohead for fuck's sake! So, after lots of finger wagging and choice words in my general direction from her and a shrugging of the shoulders from me, I move to the left and continue to enjoy myself.
'Car Trouble', 'Dog Eat Dog', 'Christian D'or', even the later solo singles such as 'Goody Two Shoes' and 'Viva La Rock' follow and all go down a storm. Bolan's 'Get It On' is aired come encore time, but I would've preferred 'Los Rancheros' or 'Picasso' personally but hey, now I'm just being picky.
There are not many people here under forty that's for sure, and apart from the odd sighting of a few old school punks and young new school punks I suppose it was always going to be that way.
Tonight was also an experiment as to how drunk it is possible to get on the least money. Due to my mate's new theory and refusal to pay for drinks in bars anymore, we smuggle in his very strong homebrew in hip flasks and buy pints of diet coke, decantering the proper alcohol as soon as possible - it is effective to say the least!
Tonight was a trip back in time, yes, and nostalgic to a point. Gone is all the pomp and theatre of his hayday though, the Adam Ant of 2011 is on fire and more rock 'n' roll than he has been in many years. The set list proves he means business, playing so many obscurities, always his better material, and who are we to deny Prince Charming his return to the stage?
We welcome him back with open arms and eagerly await the new intriguingly titled album 'Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunnar's Daughter'.
If you ever questioned Adam Ant's rock 'n' roll credentials go see him now and the question will be answered; a quality night of rock 'n' roll indeed.