SPORTING a Van Dyke beard, flouncing pirate shirt and gold tasselled hussar jacket, he is perhaps the only person who could out-Depp Johnny Depp.
And, performing at O2 Academy, Newcastle, last Friday with his supporting band the Good the Bad and the Lovely Posse, Adam Ant still cuts a charismatic and enigmatic figure.
The Blueback Hussar tour is the latest in a series after a hiatus of 15 years and anticipates the 2013 release of his first album in almost 20 years – the wordily titled Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter.
The mouthful of a title is archetypal of the dandy highwayman’s verbosity and eccentricity, giving a decidedly British two fingered salute to commercial convention. These qualities abound in his engaging performance, which features hallucinatory narrative monologues, flamboyant rock n’ roll posturing and obscure tongue in cheek titles – including Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face) and Fat Fun. Ant’s voice remains rich and tuneful, and the posse delivers a tight set.
An interesting throwback is the re-introduction of two drummers, providing dramatic, tribal beats on seminal hits like Stand and Deliver and Prince Charming. This can, however, feel redundant and deaden the rhythm of less distinctive songs.
Another questionable addition is that of backing vocalist Georgina Baillie – she of Sachsgate – who compensates for weak vocals with affected sexy pouts, poses and flourishes, à la Victoria Beckham.
Mis-steps in reinvention aside, Ant’s return is a welcome one