Friday, 27 July 2012
852 ADAM ANT AND THE GOOD, THE MAD AND THE LOVELY POSSE, Poussez Posse, Swindon Wyvern Theatre, Thursday 26 July 2012
Swindon is really coming up trumps for me gig-wise at the moment, with this one following hot on the heels of the recent Biffy Clyro gig, and due to be followed by another local one this weekend… This, amazingly, was my first gig at the Wyvern, a well-established local Theatre which rarely puts bands on, less a band - or name - of the stature of Adam Ant, 2011’s Comeback King after a couple of stellar performances centring thankfully on his vintage pre-pop hit “Sexmusic”. This one promised to be interesting, particularly given the Wyvern’s seated venue status!
I persuaded Rach to join me for this local one, then my brother Paul came into possession of a last minute ticket for this long sold-out show, and bravely accompanied us for a drive into town on a scorching hot night. I eschewed the shorts, anticipating an air-conditioned and cool theatre, which would prove to be a mistake… Bumped into a couple of old Level 3 faces, Robynne and Andrea (hi guys!) before wandering in to check out support Poussez Posse. Comprising Ants backing singer, “Sachsgate” girl and possessor of a fair set of, erm, lungs, Georgina “Georgie Girl” Baillie, leading an all girl troupe, they were better than I’d feared. They featured 3 covers in their 6-song set – Ants oldie “It Doesn’t Matter”, 70’s girl-power ballad “Only Women Bleed” and a fine, toughened up version of Penetration’s punk classic “Don’t Dictate” – interspersed with their stomping, grunge sleaze originals which, Rach remarked, “made me miss Heavy Stud”!
We wandered back outside, bumping into various folks and chatting away, before the very helpful 3 minute warning saw us scurrying back into the auditorium, again taking our splendid stage left seats, 3 rows from the front, for Adam’s entrance at 8.30. The palpable anticipation erupted as Adam took the stage last, to huge squeals of delight from the audience which made me wonder if I’d stumbled into a girls Hockey International! He raced through punked-up opener “Plastic Surgery” with a verve and venom beyond his years, a riveting stage presence already delivering a proper “performance”. That said, the audience, despite the initial reception, didn’t reciprocate until “Beat My Guest”, at which point I stood up, started rocking out, then promptly sideswiped the head of the still-sitting bloke in front of me! Profuse apologies later, I revelled in the vintage Ants segment of the strident “Kick”, a sublime “Cartrouble” and an unexpected, creepy “Ants Invasion” before Georgie Girl joined Adam onstage for a swaggering march through “Deutscher Girls”. Then, an unannounced “Stand And Deliver” which finally got the “pop” Ants crowd up and rocking, soliciting a huge reception at its’ climax.
“This always feels like the first time I play this,” the hitherto taciturn Adam announced before a brilliant “Kings Of The Wild Frontier”, the interweaving double drums and strident chanting embellishing a set highlight as Adam, fully committed and really meaning it, maaaan, gave his all, receiving a deserved and lengthy ovation (even bigger than for “SAD”, I was pleased to see!) for his efforts. “Wonderful” diffused the mood before Adam announced a song about, “a different kind of love story,” the menacing oldie “Whip In My Valise”, Adam again delving into his old Sexmusic back catalogue with the grinning zeal of a teenager eagerly burrowing into his porno mag collection under the bed. “Desperate But Not Serious”, the only other song, along with “Ants Invasion”, which was “new” into the set (despite rumours to the contrary, Adam remained faithful to his recent set lists, pandering only to himself and rewarding the long-time Ants connoisseurs; good man!), featured a lengthy pregnant pause, which was nice. I like those.
Then; “Zerox”. Shunted later into the set this time, the familiar staccato guitar intro and off-kilter rhythm saw me “giving it loads” as this, Adam’s finest hour, swooped and soared, and built to another all-too-short climax. Brilliant, brilliant stuff, but almost eclipsed by set closer, the rambunctious, cheeky “Lady” (“true story!” claimed Adam by way of introduction) which again segued into a thumpingly powerful “Fall In”, the “bop shoo-bop”s resonating around the hall.
Time was with us, so we got “Red Scab” in the encore tonight (yay!), the slow, riff heavy mutant sleazoid number actually getting slower, then speeding up for a manic finale with Adam whirling like a dervish onstage. The sadly inevitable “Prince Charming” got the crowd throwing shapes before a T Rex homage, then “Physical”, to end another sweaty, breathless and swift, but utterly brilliant evening in the company of a born performer, playing what the hell he likes from his dusty back catalogue and fuck anyone who doesn’t like it. Running into my cousin Sharon and her be-striped friends, then getting hastily-grabbed set-list signed by Adam’s bass player Joel, were nice punctuation points on the night. And to paraphrase my equally elated brother, “the man is living proof that, even if life takes you to hell and back, class is permanent”. Nuff said. See you at the O2 Academies in November!