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White sox and facepaint – Adam Ant and me

The past, they say, is a foreign country. Dusting down her metaphysical time-travelling passport, Mrs. Morrissey took a trip to the Glasgow Academy to see one of her formative heroes. 

Having still never forgiven my mother for moving me to the highlands and refusing to take me down to see Adam and The Ants in the Apollo in 1982, I was very much looking forward to finally getting to see my first hero in action.

Decisions, decisions. I decided against the full fancy dress attire, but on arriving at the Carling I realised that maybe this was the wrong move. 40 -50 years olds with Mohicans, ageing “ladies” with pirate costumes were surrounding me at every turn and making me feel decidedly underdressed. Regrets, I’ve had a few, but turning down the opportunity to dress like a pirate is always going to haunt me.

The Carling was packed, and considering most of the trains were off and trees were lying strewn across the southside of Glasgow due to the bizarre May weather, it was a pretty good turn out for a Monday. Indeed, it was yet more proof  that bad weather and a school night will not part the hardy Glaswegians from their music and beer.

Our stalwartness was rewarded when the Dandy Highwayman himself came strutting on to stage looking pretty fit for a 56 year old. There was none of this shuffling-on too-cool- for-school in jeans and an understated T shirt like some recent bands. No not our hero; he sasashayed on to the stage bedecked in top hat, feathers, some nifty glasses and the flouncy pirate style outfit he was known and loved for. Will Jack Sparrow look that good at 50 odd I wonder?

A nostalgia tour this wasn’t, with a well rehearsed and pretty tight band behind him, the music was top notch, punky and edgy and the anecdotes about years gone by were actually worth listening to.

The Dandy highwayman treated us to a mix of old favourites mixed with lesser known b -sides and songs from his first album . ‘Antmusic’, ‘Dog Eat Dog’ and ‘Stand and Deliver’ have stood the test of time well and received a rapturous response, ‘Catholic Day’, ‘Cleopatra’ and ‘Never Trust A Man (With Egg On His Face) found the ageing punks in the crowd in their element. ‘Prince Charmin’g sounded clunky and dated but it didn’t stop the fans singing along and doing the fist crossing moves, myself included (ridicule is nothing to be scared of, after all). His last single before his breakdown, ‘Wonderful’, was a poignant moment received with warm and almost touchingly supportive applause.

2 hours of solid music and energetic performing wasn’t bad for someone heading towards free bus pass status, the show ending with a lively performance of ‘Physical’ and a rousing cover of T-Rex’s’ Get It On’. 35 years in, he’s still got something.

I was 8 when I first got into Adam and The Ants, as I wandered out, i reflected how lucky I was back in the 70s/80s to be able to have musical heros that actually were talented and could write/sing and perform, I cant see current kid’s favourites, Cheryl Cole and the like having the same impact 30 years on.

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5 Responses

  1. What a superb review……enthusiasm bursting through.

  2. I’d forgotten how many great songs the Antmaster had!

  3. This review made me wish I had been there, its so descriptive! I once dressed as Adam Ant when I was about 13 for a fancy dress competition and won, my friends mum spent hours sewing braid onto a jacket for me!

    Kings of the Wild Frontier is a great album, I was listening to it recently – although my favourite Adam and the Ants single was Young Parisiens which I remember having to save up to buy on vinyl. I’ve not heard it for years, I’ll need to download it.

    The description of the crowd conjures up memories of going to see Madness a couple of years ago -loads of 40 year olds skanking, it was magic!

  4. Ooo he did young parisiens too! I agree Kings is a fab album.

  5. Great review, loving it. Sounds like a top night.
    All together now……..”A real royal family, a wild nobility, WE are the family!”……or whatever the fuck it is.

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