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Adam Ant Show Review & Photos 8/27/13 @ The Jack White Theatre inside Masonic Temple by Jeff Howitt / Jacob Giamp

wsg PRIMA DONNA @ The Jack White Theatre/Masonic Temple Detroit, MI
PHOTOS BY MCB's Jacob Giampa

People were definitely in the Spirit of Things when they arrived at the Masonic Temple to experience Adam Ant and his band The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse. Some bore a variation of his trademark War Paint on their cheeks. Others fringe flowing, booted and sleeveless. Most some mix of casual and No Wave/Mod. I missed Prima Donna getting myself turned around on Detroit’s mostly lightless back streets. The Temple itself stood dark in the rainy sky this night. I’m thinking the openers, personally chose by Ant himself for this tour, went over well as their merch table was packed with interest once they finished their set. Nikki Corvette and Amy Gore amongst them vampin’ it up.

As I found my seat inside the newly anointed Jack White Theatre I realized Raquel Falcon from Jeecy & The Jungle was in the row right behind me. I recognized her despite her own lack of signature War Paint on this night. She hadn’t seen Ant since she was thirteen years old and was as excited now as then. Moments later lead Retro Girl, Renee Allen made her way down my row and we were all up on our feet once the orchestral intro sounded and would be for the next two hours as Adam Ant and his Band poured through thirty songs, yes Thirty Songs and an Encore with almost no pause.

The set began with a puckish hop from Ant as he took center stage to his recent albums namesake “Marrying The Gunner’s Daughter”; an archaic navel term for being bent over a cannon and flogged that he likens to dealing with a major record label. “Dog Eat Dog” from “Kings of the Wild Frontier” and “Beat My Guest” from “BSides Baby!” hit in quick succession. For “Kick” and “Ant’s Invasion” he would pick up a black Les Paul as he would sporadically throughout the set and add some distorted riffing to the deliberately low end dynamic of the two full kit drummers in his backing band.

Numbers from the new album like “Hardmentoughblokes” and “Shrink” sit thematically well between “Stand And Deliver” from “Prince Charming” and “Room at the Top” from “Manners & Physique”. The latter he mock stumbles, tugging at the kerchiefs tied to his microphone stand before taking off his vest. Playing with theaudience as much as performing. By “Kings of the Wild Frontier” everyone is singing along “A New Royal Family/A Wild Nobility/We Are Family”. Ant refers to the “Kings” character known for wearing the iconic white stripe now as a Nineteenth Century European cavalry officer “The Blue Black Hussar”. I love how the Brit’s find Artistic perspective shedding skins from Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust/Thin White Duke
manifestations to Wild Billy Childish’s forays into Historical role play with The Spartan Dreggs.

“Wonderful” brings smiles to the faces immediately around me and causes the dancing in the rows to spill over into the isle ways. During “Whip in My Valise” scattered dancers start being escorted back to their seats from the orchestra pit and I see the Sea Captain brimmed Frank Woodman of Caveman Woodman dancing his way just out of reach of the flashlight wielding ushers.

A trio of new tracks leading off with “Vince Taylor”, about French Valerie who gave Ant his own gold plated chain as a gift, followed by “Stay in the Game” are nearly sewn together in performance except for the minimalist swampy guitar intro Ant provided for “Cool Zombie”; the debut single championing his old neighbor Ronnie B. who turned him onto authentic Country Music. This portion of the set very much
reeks in all the right ways of his downtime away from the music industry and letting himself be in the small town of Dayton, Tennessee for a spell.

“Strip” lightens up the room. Here when Ant playfully snaps free the top buttons of his billowing white shirt it is met with uproarious cheering. His guitar is back on for “Desperate Not Serious” off “Friend or Foe” before three on the tree from his debut record “Dirk Wears White Socks”. “Cleopatra” mounts Ant at the front of the stage leaning on his knee and scanning the room nodding rhythmically as from a ships
mast. After what happened at the Wire show a few weeks back here in Detroit where over nostalgic fans harassed the band (or tried to by chanting “One! Two! X! U!” and the band finally retorted “One! Two! FUCK YOU!”) I can’t imagine anyone not getting the Adam Ant they wanted tonight when the band slams into “Never Trust A Man With Egg On His Face” then quickly into “Zerox” with Ant gracefully punching
the air to the cymbal crashes.

“Viva Le Rock” spikes in and churns up the room dancing again. Mind you the The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse nor Ant have paused for more than seconds between songs if even that. When they do break it is briefly to introduce the band, and they all take a much needed pull from their respective cups before slamming back into the set with “Antmusic”. When “Goody Two Shoes” clicked in Renee Allen
leaned over and said “On this one I kinda miss the horns”. For the most part up until this point I didn’t notice so much the instrumental embellishments missing from the stripped down presentation as they were being quoted melodically by the guitarist as the bassist riffed away. Yet as the night marched on you did start to pick out the machinations that drove the band. Especially the Metal tinged guitar hysterics shredding along side a double down rhythm section. Not unlike some of Iggy’s former touring bands before a reunited Stooges. Another from the first album, “Car Trouble” dances us into “Prince Charming” for the set closer and living up to the title of that song it is clear “The Blue Black Hussar” is in the building. He watches the
light in the eyes of those before him as He turns and rides away with his Lovely Posse.

Comparative to the perpetual motion of the entire evening their absence from the stage is brief before Ant emerges, his mighty hussar headdress still in place but stripped down to a sleeveless black shirt. Matching his band mates in their black jeans and alternating black and white sleeveless garments. Not quite an uniform but
an androgynous code. You can see the youth still in the man who was recently carded at 58 years old trying to buy beer in a Kentucky gas station. The Lovely Posse starts the march again with “Press Darlings” right into obscuro “Lady/Catch A Falling Star”. The black Les Paul is back on Ant’s shoulder when he starts strutting out the chords to “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” by T. Rex and the band claws right into
it. You can see where Marc Bolan and Adam Ant have more common ground than one may notice. Where Bolan Called on the Star Children it was Ant who Gathered the Wandering Tribes to dance with the lights in the skies. For me Adam Ant can fall between Eagles of Death Metal and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds as far as showmanship, literate content and raw but playful sexuality. Though the “The Blue Black Hussar” may be the immediate manifestation of Ant’s wounded healer; closing the procession tonight with “Physical (You’re So)” from “Kings of the Wild Frontier” reminds me that he is still of “A Wild Nobility” none the less.