Back home in Copenhagen and partly recovered after 2 hectic days of pure Antmusic in London the first word that springs to mind is still quite simply "Wow!".
The Islington Assembly Hall venue is a rather intimate one and has a capacity of approximately 700. It takes 200 seated on the balcony and about 500 downstairs on the floor. The sound was a bit on the hard side, but if you avoided the sides of the room it sounded pretty good on the floor.
I saw 4 support bands (2 each day) and all of them actually had qualities. That's not always the case, so it was nice for once to hear some good support music while keeping the nice bartenders busy running for Red Stripes and Foster's for their best customer: me! :) The support bands on Thursday and Friday were: Telegram, Brandy Row, Night Engine, Fjokra.
Sadly I never saw the man live back in the 80ies and when I saw him at The Scala in 2010 he seemed to be somewhat affected by medicine and not yet back in top form. 4 years have passed since then, Adam has turned 60 recently and I can assure you that he is certainly back in form now. The 2 evenings I saw him perform in Islington were simply magical.
His setlist consisted of the full debut album Dirk Wears White Søx . Also each night had a 2 songs acoustic set with the band seated and then a bunch of selected hits and rarities to enjoy. Adam's band included 2 drummers, 2 guitarists, bass and keyboard. All of the musicians were much younger than Adam and they seem like a tight unit and did a really great job. I'll always miss having Marco Pirroni on stage, but to be honest the band did fine without him.
I was walking down the street
I saw a man with one arm
I was walking down the same street, same street
I saw a man with one arm
One day, two men, one arm......KICK!
It was really enjoyable listening to the full Dirk Wears White Søx album live as I've always loved that album. For newer fans and us older collectors it has recently been re-released on white vinyl in a really nicely done package. Adam still has all his charisma intact and he brought a lot of extra life to the songs on stage. He's got that special dark humor and really did an intense and almost aggressive performance of those fine old songs.
Next we had a surprise acoustic session with all the string players sitting on chairs with Adam in the middle. We were then treated with lovely versions of S.E.X. and Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios. Especially Picasso... went down really well and the crowd loved every second of it.
As the real heroes died
And their ideas supplied
To a fat little magpie
With money in his eyes
They bowed and they scraped
As opinions he shaped
Now every little sketch a fortune will fetch
And the bleach killer kills
And the bleach killer kills, yeah
The rest of the setlist consisted of various hits or rarities and he changed these every night so there were something extra for those going to see more than one performance. What stood out for me was a blasting version of Kings of the Wild Frontier. To listen to the 2 drummers beating the tribal rhythm, the awesome bass and then the entire crowd singing along with Adam. It just gave me goosebumps and painted a huge smile on your face.
I feel beneath the white
There is a redskin suffering
From centuries of taming
I could have done without the softer pop songs Anger Inc. and Vampires, but I guess there has to be something for everybody. The overall feeling was however a punk gig going all the way back to the roots of Adam And The Ants showcasing why the Antmusic sound is still so dearly loved by so many people world-wide and why people still buy the new Ant albums (there's a new album out in 2015.) When being served with fan favorites like Dog Eat Dog, Zerøx, Physical (You're So), A.N.T.S. and B-Side Baby then who the hell wouldn't be satisfied and smile all the way home and for days after?!
I think "Punk" is an overused word
As a matter of fact
I hate Joey Ramone when he says
He's gonna beat on a -
He's going to find himself d-down an alley
With his face beaten flat
And a spray job in bright pink letters, saying
I regretted not being able to go to all 4 gigs but I think I should count myself lucky instead for having witnessed 2 wonderful shows of Antmusic for Sexpeople. The crowd, the crew, the bartenders, the bands and of course - most of all - Adam himself all deserve standing applause. This was a damn great decision I made, spending my money on this trip to good old London town. I hope to be back for more soon!
Dirk Wears White Søx : Cartrouble (Parts 1 & 2), Digital Tenderness, Nine Plan Failed, Day I Met God, Tabletalk, Cleopatra, Catholic Day, Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face), Animals and Men, Family of Noise, The Idea.
Acoustic set: S.E.X., Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios.
Other songs played (not all of them every night): A.N.T.S., Dog Eat Dog, Kings of the Wild Frontier, Bathroom Function, Zerøx, Physical (You're So), Anger Inc., Vampires, B-Side Baby, This Strange Effect (Dave Berry cover).