Wednesday, 7 November 2012
862 ADAM ANT AND THE GOOD, THE MAD AND THE LOVELY POSSE, Poussez Posse, Oxford O2 Academy, Tuesday 6 November 2012
“See you at the Academies in November!” This was the promise I made to Adam Ant’s estimable bassist Joel on my departure from Adam’s brilliant Wyvern show in July, and, so far as a gig, particularly one of this stature, is concerned, a promise thus made is one that damn well needs to be kept! Thus it was that I secured a ticket to once again see the undisputed Comeback King of this decade (the Tennies? The Onesies?), flying solo this time despite lots of interest from… my kids! Yup, Logan and Kasey have recently been playing “Prince Charming” and “Stand And Deliver” on constant YouTube repeat, yet at 5 and 3 years old respectively, they’re a tad young for a “live” Ant experience. Hopefully we’ll change that before too long…
A touch of the man-flu and a horrible hacking cough briefly threatened to keep me from the show, but I decided on a “kill or cure” approach and went for it anyway! A slightly later than planned departure, followed by a stop for some Halls Soothers (Soothers! How fucking rock’n’roll am I?), meant the Tescos car park was full when I arrived, and I suffered an increasingly frustrating 25 minute wait for someone to give up a parking space. I therefore hit the venue at 8.15, midway through Poussez Posse’s set. Led by the statuesque and strutting Georgie Girl, and all visionary in hot red and black, they stomped and pouted through the rest of their grungy guitar sleaze set, with a punchy and powerful cover of “Don’t Dictate” once again their highlight.
Wandered round the venue and chatted with the affable merchandise man about the disappointingly poor turnout; this one was only ever about ½ full, a far cry from the quickly sold-out Wyvern a couple of months back. What the fuck, Oxford; are you just too cool and studenty cutting-edge for some old school Antmusic? Too snobby to properly appreciate a true rock’n’roll entertainer? Still, the audience was comprised mainly of old punk lags and their lasses, rather than the middle-aged stripey nose housewife “pop” brigade, so this promised to be a small but knowledgeable crowd…
I took a spot stage right near the front as the witching hour approached, noticing a “Blueblack Hussar” backdrop had replaced the usual Sexmusic one. More newies tonight, maybe? The place plunged into darkness and the usual rock’n’roll propaganda message intro set an eerie mood, heralding the band onstage. Immediately the dual drummers pounded the strident intro to an unexpected, savage and venomous “Press Darlings”; then The Star took the stage. Plumed pirate hat in place, and sporting a gold braid Hussar’s waistcoat over a billowing white shirt, Adam looked magnificent, incandescent, a King come to reclaim his throne. And his performance matched his appearance from the outset, this lyric being delivered with righteous fury. “Beat My Guest”, third number in, was breathless and breathtaking, Adam kinetic onstage, moving with an enthusiasm of a man half his age. And by this time I was gleefully rocking out down the front myself! The usual early set sequence followed; a plangent “Cartrouble” featuring Adam on guitar; a slow-burn, eerie “Ants Invasion”, the playful and provocative march of “Deutscher Girls”, then a slightly perfunctory “Stand And Deliver”, Adam deadpanning the lyric to his watershed number.
“This is the song that made things really change,” Adam announced before his manifesto number, the Burundi beat-driven and all-inclusive “Kings Of The Wild Frontier”, which he poured heart and soul into, evidenced by his primal howl introduction. The sleazy “Whip In My Valise” was introduced as, “a love story in keeping with today, “50 Shades Of Grey” and all that…” then Georgie Girl rejoined the stage in a cut-off squaw outfit for the provocative “Strip”, a new addition to the recent live canon. Another newie, a brand new newie this time, new single “Cool Zombie” was a Velvets/ T Rex-like NYC cool groove, and a subsequent “Desperate But Not Serious” once again featured that lovely pregnant pause, this (knowledgeable! Yes!) crowd filling in on the vocal line.
A brilliant “Zerox” was again a personal highlight, strobe backlit, off-kilter and impassioned, before Adam declared his intention to rock Oxford with “Vive Le Rock”. The set finale of “Lady”/ “Fall In” saw Adam embellish the, “true story,” behind the former (“I was in Notting Hill filming “Jubilee”, rifling through my managers pockets for change… then there she was, 6 feet 8 inches tall and naked. What should I do? Who should I call? Not fucking “Ghostbusters”! I thought, “if I survive this, I’ll have to write a song,” so this is it…”), and the rambunctious latter brought the house down on another thrillingly superb set, another step on Adam’s road to redemption.
A couple of curveballs for the encore; oldies “Lou” and a scattergun and scatological “Rubber People”, proving Adam’s very much still on his “play what he damn well wants” kick, before the inevitable “Prince Charming” saw everyone (yup, even me) singing along to the outro, wishing this evening would never end, before it inevitably did with a heartfelt collective bow from Adam and his Posse. Magnificent.
Another grabbed setlist, and a quick in-and-out to draw cash then buy a signed print later, I coughed and hacked my way home, nevertheless feeling all the better for the healing powers of prime post-punk Antmusic. And I’ll be back whenever time and finances allow, because right now, a 58 year old with previous mental health issues is showing everyone the way “live”. Adam Ant, I salute you.