Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Kings Of The Wild Frontier

Adam Ant is touring Australia and New Zealand. Wait, WHAT? Adam Ant? Of COURSE I’m going to see him!

Nicola is currently on a World Tour of Las Vegas with her adopted chorus the Waikato Rivertones, so I arranged to go with Tor instead. I made a cunning plan to park up at the far end of town, and booked a table at the conveniently-placed Foxglove bar and restaurant at the waterfront, where I met Tor and Gavin for dinner beforehand. Pork belly followed by a chocolate crepe, since you ask…very nice too.

We then walked around the corner to the conveniently-placed TSB Bank Arena. There was a suspicious lack of activity at the doors, and, as we approached, they failed to open. A quick check of the tickets showed we had the right date, right time…wrong venue!

D’oh! We should have been at the Opera House! When all else fails, read the instructions. Fortunately Wellington is such a small town that within 10 minutes we were in the correct place, and taking our seats in the circle.

The support act was an Australian singer in the mould of Sheryl Crow or Alanis Morrisette, although with a voice more like Sophie B. Hawkins (so I’m reliably informed). Her name? She didn’t tell us, which is a basic marketing fail on her part. She sang eight songs with her guitar, to almost universal apathy. I mean, we clapped politely, but that was it. A bit of googling in the interval revealed that her name is Diana Anaid. I see what you did there.

And then the main act. On came Adam Ant, and proceeded to play the whole of Kings Of The Wild Frontier,* his seminal 1980 album. In order of the original album, natch, from Dog Eat Dog through to The Human Beings, with its unforgettable “Blackfoot, Pawnee, Cheyenne, Crow, Apache, Arapahoe” chorus. We played this album to death 37 years ago, to the extent that most of the lyrics came back to me and I was able to sing along to nearly all of it. And apart from the obvious singles, there are a lot of other good tracks on this album – Feed Me To The Lions, Killer In the Home, and of course The Human Beings.

Notice anything about the band? That’s right, two drummers. This was part of their original sound, and they’re back with it. At times, actually, there were four drummers, as both guitarists picked up sticks for the beginning of Antmusic, and also provided some additional bass drum from time to time. And with Ant picking up a guitar himself for some songs, they did not make the produced sound you hear from the album – this was big four-guitar-band noise!

At the end of the album, Ant spoke to us for the first time – “Hello, (checks hand) Wellington!” etc. Then they set about the second part of the gig, which was basically a greatest hits plus a few of other songs – he even managed to sneak in, without using the “N” word, some new(-ish) material in the form of Bullshit, from his 2013 album Adam Ant Is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter. Which we all bought, right? He also mined Dirk Wears White Sox for Cartrouble, and played Beat My Guest, a bonus track on the cassette (hah! Remember them?) version of KOTWF. Other than that, though, it was songs you know and love, finishing up with an audience-participatory rendition of Stand And Deliver. He then came back out for a three-song encore, starting with Goody Two Shoes, then Fall In, and ending with what was pretty much a heavy metal version of Physical (You’re So), as the guitarist went full Guitar Hero on us.

I left the theatre clutching a tour t-shirt, into a rainy Wellington night. And had to walk the length of Manners Mall and Featherston Street to get back to the car. But worth it, so worth it. If you happen to be near Melbourne on Sunday, I highly recommend going!

* Adam Ant belongs to that select group of human beings who have three ears, like Captain Kirk. In his case, a wild front ear.