Reviled by punks for 'selling out', picked apart by the mainstream for being too weird and remembered by today's youth for throwing a car alternator through a pub window, one could almost feel sorry for Adam Ant. Then again, you'd be hard-pressed to sympathise were you to witness him tonight – the third of four packed-out gigs sees Ant on formidable form.
Clad in leather and bounding about the stage with unkempt energy, Adam guides Islington through a two hour master-class in how to do a proper rock show. Opening with Cartrouble and slogging through the entire Dirk Wears White Sox record with little fanfare, crowd banter is kept to a minimum – the music speaks for itself.
The frenetic, discordant riffs that shower Digital Tenderness haven’t aged one bit, being churned out with complete conviction from Ant’s backing band. But, of course, this show is all about Adam; his vocals are absolutely on the money, every note being smashed as he wails, screams and drawls through the spasmodic landscapes of Catholic Day.
Dirk…’s punky exuberance only lasts forty minutes; the remainder of the evening has Ant digging into his back catalogue and exhuming a host of early tunes. A woman screams: ‘I want to fuck you, Adam!’, to which he smoothly replies: ‘Thank you, that’s very nice of you’ before introducing semi-acoustic rarity S.E.X. He’s fully aware he’d be nowhere without the fans, so shows this in the best way he can: blitzing through tunes with the vigour of a trampolining puppy. We’ll even forgive him for ripping his t-shirt open – Incredible Hulk style – and leaving his nipples daringly exposed. Brave man.
The twin assault of Dog Eat Dog and Kings Of The Wild Frontier is incredulously heavy tonight – having two drummers and three guitarists gives the tracks a savage, unhinged quality that makes The Beautiful People sound like a farting toddler. Following this, Adam quips: ‘I love those songs just as much as I did before’. So do we, mate.
Finishing with a mercilessly brutal rendition of Physical (You’re So), he saunters off stage without so much as a goodbye. There’s no Stand And Deliver and no Prince Charming. Nobody seems to care – Ant has always been so much more than your run-of-the-mill, jukebox pop-star. More sophisticated on a sonic, visual and intellectual scale, this man’s art will forever stain the walls of popular culture. All hail the Blueblack Hussar.