Thirty-five years after Adam & The Ants released “Kings Of The Wild Frontier,” the groundbreaking, recently remastered project is taking center spotlight in its entirety on a North American tour. However, if audiences didn’t know any better, it could easily be billed as Ant’s newest album considering the towering, Burundi Beat style of Central African drumming still sounds revolutionary in the context of Western pop and alternative rock.
Naturally, Ant’s most significant American breakthrough “Goody Two Shoes” was saved until later, and despite its performance frequency, appeared to be equally savored by everyone on stage as those dancing in the aisles.
At a briskly sold out Vic Theatre, the front man turned solo personality didn’t sound any different from back in the day, which is remarkable now that he’s 62, endured his share of mental illness issues over the years, not to mention the unexpected death of guitarist and musical director Tom Edwards the previous week. Nonetheless, the four-piece band anchored by double drummers soldiered on as Ant in his signature gothic pirate garb (perhaps a future inspiration for My Chemical Romance) jumped all around to explosive tracks such as “Dog Eat Dog,” “Antmusic,” “Ants Invasion” and “Kings Of The Wild Frontier.”
Throughout the dozen reflections from the international version of the record, the troupe went as wide as early new wave experiments, alternative rock aggressiveness, cowbell-laden dance beats and meaty rockabilly, all tied together by the singer’s charismatic leadership and the unconventional percussion. That variety continued in the second set of selections off other projects, which rotated between the raw punk power of “Beat My Guest,” the defiant “Stand And Deliver” and the dark pop sensibility of “Desperate But Not Serious.”
Naturally, Ant’s most significant American breakthrough “Goody Two Shoes” was saved until later, and despite its performance frequency, appeared to be equally savored by everyone on stage as those dancing in the aisles. Though fellow Stateside singles “Strip,” “Room At The Top” and “Wonderful” were nowhere to be found amidst more than two-dozen tunes, closers “Prince Charming” and “Physical (You’re So)” gave all the musicians additional chances to stretch out and highlight the harder side of a much more intricate catalogue than MTV viewers may remember.
For additional information on Adam Ant, visit Adam-Ant.com.
For a list of upcoming shows at the Vic Theatre, visit VicTheatre.com.