This past weekend at Seattle’s Neptune Theatre, antmusic ruled as the antmaster performed his classic album Kings of the Wild Frontier.
BY GILLIAN G. GAAR
Antmusic returned to Seattle in a big way when the Dandy Highwayman himself, Adam Ant, graced the stage of the Neptune Theatre on Friday, February 3, as part of his Kings of the Wild Frontier anniversary tour, which saw Ant performing that 1980 album in its entirety.
But first, a short set by Glam Skanks, a hard rockin’ quartet headed up by glitter-attired lead vocalist Ali Cat. This was ‘80s music of a different stripe, the kind you might’ve found on the Sunset Strip before grunge arrived and (mostly) swept it all away. There were songs about fashion (“Tube Tops”), Valentine’s Day (“Fuck Off”), and female empowerment (“Bad Bitch”). Ms. Cat retained her aplomb even when her costume got snagged on the microphone cord.
The evening ran like clockwork, with Glam Skanks starting, bang, at 8:45 p.m. There was a half hour set, and then a long, 45 minute wait before Adam began at 10 p.m. (really, a 30 minute wait would’ve raised anticipation just as much). Finally, the lights dim, the band slouches on stage, and then… is it Captain Bligh? Mr. Bumble, that nasty beadle from Oliver! The real long lost father of Captain Jack Sparrow? No, it’s Adam Ant, sporting a military jacket replete with elaborate braiding, a towering Navy cocked hat, and leather trousers, all the better to swagger around the stage in.
Adam’s career took off shortly before MTV was launched, and a musician who came of age in the video era naturally knows the importance of having a strong visual appeal. Thus it was no surprise that Adam held the audience in the palm of his hand from the get-go, striking a pose, bopping from one end of the stage to the other, pointing to a select favored few in the crowd. And with two drum kits on hand to emulate that distinctive Burundi drum style, the packed house was solidly locked into the groove from the beginning.
After running through the 11 tracks on Kings, Adam took off his jacket, now wearing a black shirt (later removed to reveal one of his own tour shirts). This signaled the end of the “highwayman” period, as least as far as stage attire was concerned. Then came a steady stream of hits and other much loved Ant tracks. If you had a favorite, he probably played it: “Stand and Deliver.” “Goody Two Shoes.” “Desperate But Not Serious.” “Prince Charming.” “Physical.” Plus one cover, “Get It On.” All knocked out with precision, and buoyed by Adam’s boundless energy. Here’s a performer who knows what his audience wants, and delivers. Adam’s a true showman, determined to give the best performance he can, as only he can. It all added up to a truly satisfactory evening.
Author contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @GillianGaar
Photo credit: Michael Sanderson