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VIDEO & REVIEW: Rosanna Rothery sees Adam Ant at the Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: May 02, 2013

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IN the Eighties: dashing, fresh-faced, athletic and fit. A young rebel leading the rabble in a spot of gentlemanly pillaging. In 2013: characterful, charismatic, worldy wise and beautifully bonkers!

It really didn't take long for our brains to adjust to Adam Ant's latest incarnation.

If, in our memories, he was a handsome young upstart ready to lead a musical mutiny, today, he was a knowing warrior returning from battle with a few war wounds and stories to tell.

The man-of-the-world swagger, the weird grimaces, the mischievous twinkle in the eye (not to mention the crazed habit of almost lobbing the microphone stand at us), all painted a picture of a witty, charming, seasoned swashbuckler. Jack Sparrow's older, bombastic brother perhaps.

Now most comeback artists I've seen make a fatal mistake: they return with somewhat softer, smoother and more sophisticated versions of their early music.

Of course, it's all admirably cultivated and befits their status as seasoned musicians, but the excitement and edginess evaporates.

Adam Ant didn't fall into this trap. If anything the gig had a raw, almost tribal-like vibe.

The sound wasn't always terribly good – amusingly the singer's microphone wasn't turned up for the most of the first song – yet it somehow felt like returning to a time when live music wasn't the highly-packaged, homogenous, horizontal experience it has become today.

A good smattering of material from across his career (including all the big hits like Stand And Deliver, Goody Two Shoes, Kings Of The Wild Frontier) plus newer songs like Vince Taylor and Shrink were allowed to breathe with an organic interpretation that made them sound fresh.

I must admit I was amused that he barely acknowledged the steamy strutting of the professionally stroppy, burlesque beauty, Georgina Bailie (of Jonathan Ross's "Sachsgate" fame).

Nothing would have turned him more quickly from red-blooded Blueblack Hussar (he was dressed like an extra from The Charge Of The Light Brigade), into a seedy old pop star than being upstaged by her foxy antics.

Charisma is a captivating thing to watch, a bit like hypnosis. Some people convince us they have it and others fall under its spell (judging by this audience the Blueblack Hussar obviously has some pretty fanatical followers).

I thoroughly enjoyed this gig. Alongside his cool, idiosyncratic vocals and catchy, fun songs, Adam Ant is, in my opinion, one hell of a comedy performer.

Where: Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple

Review: Rosanna Rothery

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