Better than: The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.
A pair of drum kits onstage indicate either, A: a Grateful Dead catastrophe about to occur or B: a pair of drummers ready to overtake all other sounds by performing like one. More on that later in a sec.
The voiceover intro to "Plastic Surgery" began seeping through the sound system, greeting a partially filled Seminole Coconut Creek Casino Pavilion with the New Romantic sounds of Adam Ant. The early low attendance was due in part to a pretty nasty looking accident on the 95 at the Hollywood Boulevard exit ramp. Regardless, once Adam and the Good the Mad and the Lovely Posse got into full swing, the place filled up.
Never have more declarations of love toward a pop artist have been declared at full volume by middle-aged married women before. If I could inspire one tiny iota of that adoration at my funeral, it would've been a full life.
Adam Ant retains his popularity partially based on a bizarre cult following of New Wave nostalgia. The man managed to create enduring pop songs that worked very well in their time and which lend themselves well to what I believe are heavier interpretations now. You can't expect dated Casio synths with this guy anymore.
Adam Ant still operates at a high energy level and with a gusto and chutzpah the majority of bands half his age simply do not possess. Almost indefatigable, Ant's set was long (twenty-seven tracks in total) and most of them bled into each other with merely a millisecond's pause. Imagine the hectic pace of a Ramones' concert multiplied by an hour. Having never seen him live before, I was uncertain of what to expect, but -- as you'll notice by the partial and jumbled set list below -- he had me bopping right along and ignoring my notepad.
Ant has a nervous demeanor on stage punctuated by a lot of facial grimacing, sneering, prankish smiling and some "I'm dancing alone in my room, and I just don't plain give a fuck if somebody walks in on me" moves that had many a broad swooning and moaning with glee. A few dudes too. Anchored by the Good the Mad and the Lovely Posse, skilled musicians on the same energetic page, the concert, though long, felt like it had ended too soon!
The bass player, Joe had the wispy air of a young Jeff Daniels, guitarist Tom propelled himself along while former Satanic Slut model and "Sachsgate" granddaughter of actor Andrew Sachs (Fawlty Towers) Georgina Baillie did the backup vocals and provided some seriously diabetic eye candy for the men in the audience.
Back to the drummers. Working opposite each other in symbiosis, as a percussive pit more than a straight drummer, they gave the show that tribal touch of New Wave/post-punk that transitioned those '80s hit to today. Thank God for no bleeding Grateful Dead jam. The drummers were blonde Amy Winehouse (down to the beehive do) lookalikes.
One particularly sweet moment happened was when a lady yelled out during a second's silence about how much she's loved Adam since she was sixteen and a group of about five or six other ladies turned to her and did the "me too" expression. The sweet scent of estrogen was very strong, my friends. Counterpoint to that was the only technical difficulty of the evening when Tom's Marshall JCM 2000 gave out and had to be replaced mid-song, but the band soldiered on until a switch was made.
Addressing the crowd, Ant said, "I've been asked why I came back... For one reason and one reason only: TO ROCK!" before blowing up into "Vive Le Rock," which got the crowd riled enough for the back nine of the set list, which included hits like "Lady" and "Prince Charming" as well as a rocking rendition of T. Rex's "Bang a Gong (Get It On)." That was good since he really didn't banter much between songs, but ever the cheeky monkey, he did get a barb in about Fifty Shades of Grey before "Whip in My Valise."
Sadly I can't report on the Brothers of Brazil set due to the traffic delay and that's a shame, for I am a sucker for Bossa Nova in any incarnation. In summation, Ant's live presence seems on par with the footage I've seen of him in his heyday and ignoring the obvious comparison to Captain Jack Sparrow (we wonder where Disney got their ideas...), Adam Ant has been a troubled man in the past, but as the beautifully lit and discernibly loud (in a good way) concert was this past Friday, this comeback might just make him a household name again.
Or at the very least, get some new fans for the upcoming album Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter. And that is not a bad thing at all.
Adam Ant - "Ant Music"
Here's a clip of the show shot by the person sitting in front of me who I'm pretty sure was very politely asked by security staff on numerous occasions to stop video recording, but Hell, how can you stop these aging New Wavers and their dang iPhones? Seminole Coconut Creek Casino showed immense restraint with repeat offenders of this nature and did their best to enforce the rules, but you can't stop them all.
The crowd: The female equivalent of weekend warriors but a Helluva lot more New Wave-y. Hairspray was in contention.
Random detail: There was something sweet about the teeny-bop idolatry you couldn't help but smile.
Personal bias: How that man can wear so many layers of clothing and not be completely drenched in an ocean of his own salt halfway through defies explanation. Were those dolphins tattooed on his arm? I'm also convinced that the hat is glued on or surgically attached. Seriously.
Set list: (partial)
"Beat My Guest"
"Stand and Deliver"
"Kings of the Wild Frontier"
"Whip in My Valise"
"Desperate but No Serious"
"Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face)"
"Goody Two Shoes"
"Vive Le Rock"
"Bang a Gong (Get It On)"
"Physical (You're so)"