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Adam Ant - Turner Hall - Milwaukee - 10/14/12

You know when you see a retro 80’s band and they sound like, well, a retro 80’s band.  That what I was expecting when I saw Adam Ant on Saturday at Milwaukee’s Turner Hall.  Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised, seeing a mature, harder rocking pop singer.  I bought all the records and liked Ant in the early/mid 1980’s.  But I really like this new Adam Ant as he enters his forth decade of making music.  The first two songs, “Plastic Surgery” and “Dog Eat Dog” appeared to be his warm up, at times performing with his back to the audience.  “Beat My Guest” kicked it into high gear and he was ready to go.  No longer sporting the face make-up, but wearing glasses (very Johnny Depp), Mr. Ant was here to perform and not much else. He wore a Napoleonic hat during the performance and rightfully so, as he took the entire crowd under conquest for the evening. Stage mannerisms and banter was at a minimum.  It was a night of greatest hits and deep cuts from his entire catalog.  “Cleopatra”, “Zerox”, “Cartrouble”, “Kick”, and “Whip In My Valise” all coming from the 1979 punk and glam release “Dirk Wears White Sox”.  The hits were all there as well.  “Ants Invasion” and “Desperate Not Serious” sounded very current not dated.  The band had a bigger, heavier feel to them with hammering and forceful guitars. He had his signature two drummers on stage and I must admit, Lola was one of the best drummers I’ve seen in awhile. From his 1995 solo album “Wonderful” he performed the Beatles-esque title track.  During “Goody Two Shoes” and “Ant Music”, the crowd sang in unison with him.  Unfortunately, the die-hard fans could not do the signature arm dance to “Prince Charming” because it was packed tight up front.  In fact the only song that sounded retro was during the encore for Marc Bolan’s “Get It On”.  I’m not sure it’s possible to play that song any other way.  Almost two hours later and 28 songs (including encore) he immediately left the stage.  There was also one new song, “Vince Taylor” from an album expected to release in early 2013. Played before “Strip”, it fit in well with the rest of set.  I think it is a good indication Adam Ant is strong as ever and not ready for the county fair circuit any time soon.

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