In October 1980 Adam Ant made his Top Of The Pops debut with his swashbuckling performance of Dog Eat Dog that was the talk of every school playground in the country the next morning.
This reviewer remembers that the Mod kids at my school turned their Harrington jackets inside out to reveal the Hussar-cherry red tartan and declared themselves Ants! Thus a star is born.
The album, Kings Of the Wild Frontier, followed hot on it’s heels and now, some 35 years on, the album had just received the deluxe box treatment and Ant is playing it live in its entirety.
The packed Sage audience- some suitably dressed in Ant garb - were on their feet as the mainman and his five-piece band - including two drummers, naturally - made their dramatic entrance and tore into the album’s opening track, the aforementioned Dog Eat Dog.
The double drummers were, of course, pivotal to the album’s sound and Ant’s two current percussionists drive the tribal-beat songs along with a thunderous intensity.
Ant himself, now aged 61, is in fine form, both vocally and physically, as he pouts, twists and twirls for the audience while performing his masterpiece.
The likes of Antmusic, Killer In The Home and the title track still sound remarkable today, like ersatz, pirate sea shantys performed by peyoted-up Navajo warriors, as Ant whoops, hollers and screams.
In the second half of the show, Ant plunders his back catalogue to great effect with the likes of Car Trouble, Zerox and the under-rated Vive Le Rock performed alongside hits like Goody Two Shoes and a guitar-heavy Prince Charming.
Encores of T Rex’s Get It On and Physical (You’re So) bring the near two hour show to a close as the audience leave the venue singing the refrain “Don’t you ever, don’t you ever, Stop being dandy, showing me you’re handsome”
A fine epitaph indeed.
- Ian Monaghan