Adam Ant & the Good, the Mad and the Lovely Posse w/Prima Donna | 08.02.13

Adam-Ant-013This tour is bringing back the Adam Ant of yore, engaging the crowd and obviously feeling comfortable in his own, thick skin.



Plush, St. Louis

Gussied up in his finest pirate gear, Adam Ant brought his summer tour to St. Louis, defying age and surpassing expectations, all while managing to rip a hole in the time-space continuum. How else can one describe the MTV demigod putting on such a vibrant performance this many years in the game? Certainly it was more than even his tenured fans expected, playing not only the expected hits but mega-deep cuts that inspired cheers and dancing from the hot-summer night revelers.

Unlike last year’s tour that saw Ant dipping his toe back in the potentially cold water of public performance, this tour is bringing back the Adam Ant of yore, engaging the crowd and obviously feeling comfortable in his own, thick skin. Beyond the confidence that comes with such a well received album (his latest, Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter), he also seems to have regained that laser-sharp focus that allowed him to never once break character. I know that referring to Ant’s stage persona as a “character” is an odd way to describe him, and of course, he puts his trousers on one leg at a time like the rest of us. However, he’s never been the type of performer who grips his acoustic and rambles over to a wooden chair on a Persian rug, aiming to convince the audience that he’s just like us. Once he steps onstage, or in front of a camera, he is Prince Charming; he is the Blueblack Hussar, and you damned well better believe he’s nothing less than an otherworldly rock star. This is exactly what makes an artist like Ant such an appealing rarity in this day and age; he brings the concert experience into the realm of performance art, and 30 years on, it still works beautifully.

Ant’s band, colorfully named the Good, the Mad and the Lovely Posse, helped Ant bring rock to his avant-garde sonic world-building. Guitarist Tom Edwards got the job done right, straddling the line of paying homage to Ant’s esteemed former axe-man Marco Pirroni, while helping us to not necessarily miss him. There were no keyboards present, and Edwards was able to successfully mimic much of the trademark instrumentation found in the original tracks, such as the horns in “Desperate But Not Serious,” and the synth parts in “Strip.” The band also included two drummers, Andy Woodard and Jola, each adding a distinctive style to the Antmusic. Jola, in particular, stood out with her big, blonde hair, looking like an Austin Powers fembot, banging out the beats with precision and grace. Last but not least, bassist Joe Holweger did top-notch work holding all the pieces together and navigating the song lists’ stylistic changes that come from an icon with a decades-long repertoire.

Perhaps the punkish, jagged edge sound on display at Plush was a way for Ant to come full circle and get back in touch with the music that inspired him in the days of Malcolm McLaren and Sex Pistols. Tracks, like “Cleopatra” (off 1979’s Dirk Wears White Socks) and “Dog Eat Dog” (off of 1980’s Kings of the Wild Frontier) were expectedly rough and ready. On new-album tracks like “Hardmentoughblokes,” “Vince Taylor,” and show-opener “Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter,” the raw approach was revelatory, infusing the tracks with a good dose of fire and energy that made them stand above their recorded versions.

Opening act Prima Donna, from Los Angeles, was handpicked by Ant to join him on this tour. Spirited garage-rockers, these guys could easily pick up the mantle carried by elder punk statesmen The New York Dolls. Pop-to-the-face rockers like “Sociopath” and “Feral Children” (off of their Bless This Mess debut) were a knock out of the park for the Plush crowd. While the entire band was impressive, it was singer-guitarist Kevin Preson who somehow managed to combine Johnny Thunder’s guitar attack with Paul Stanley’s moves to create a show worth remembering for a band I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from. | Jim Ousley

Photos: Jim Ousley

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