Adam Ant – Camden, Roundhouse – 18 December 2016 Print
Written by Martin Haslam   
Friday, 23 December 2016 05:00

It was 1980, and an album was released that genuinely changed my life. I was 13 years old, life was shit, and remained so for some years. It is no understatement to say that ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ was a life saver. 36 years later, and it still sounds as fresh and amazing as the first time I played it. How could I miss this opportunity to see it performed live for the final time in its entirety?



In 1995, me and my best mate, Deb, went to see Adam on the ‘Wonderful’ tour. 2016, and we found ourselves at the Roundhouse. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather share the experience with. The venue is heaving, busier than I’ve ever seen it. I admit that I decided against seeing the ‘Dirk’ tour last year, waiting to see how Adam’s health was. Thankfully, the last few years have seen him on the up and up, his band now tour-honed. Yes, if only Marco were here it would be perfect, but life is stranger than fiction. This is still a victory for Adam, but ‘Kings….’ wouldn’t exist without Marco and his awesome sound.


Well, you don’t need a set list for the first twelve songs. From the moment the twin-drum sound of ‘Dog Eat Dog’ hits us, this album weaves its unique spell. As Adam has said, McClaren did him a favour playing him ‘Burundi Black’, and it was probably the best grand he’s ever spent. He and Marco made it their own, and if success was the goal, they won big. The sound takes a couple of songs to settle down, but by ‘Feed Me To The Lions’, all is well. “Like a spirit soaring ten miles high”, he still commands the stage, no between song banter tonight.


The outstanding songs tonight are ‘Ants Invasion’, ‘Killer In The Home’, ‘Kings….’ and ‘The Human Beings’. Album played, Adam says hello. “Less chat means more tunes”, and you can’t argue when the next set is….’Beat My Guest’, ‘Christian Dior’, ‘Stand And Deliver’, ‘Press Darlings, ‘Vive Le Rock, ‘Car Trouble’, ‘Desperate But Not Serious’, ‘Zerox’, ‘Never Trust A Man With Egg On His Face’, ‘Lady’, ‘Fall In’, ‘Goody Two Shoes’ and ‘Prince Charming’. Credit to Adam’s band tonight for making such a varied set work so well.




Encore time treats us to ‘Red Scab’ and ‘Get It On’, when Adam tells us of the time he asked for Marc Bolan’s autograph in a record shop; “he was very polite and looked like he’d just come from Top Of The Pops”. The end is a very muscular version of ‘Physical’, and you can feel the magnetic attraction he still exudes.


I knew tonight would be good, great even, but this was simply superb. I only hope that 2017 brings the long awaited ‘proper’ studio album, ‘Bravest Of The Brave’. You can’t keep a good Ant down.