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Concert Reviews:
Adam Ant gets (New) Romantic with fans at the Masonic
 

By GARY GRAFF
@graffonmusic, Facebook.com/Gary Graff on Music

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DETROIT -- An early 80s time capsule apparently split open on Tuesday night, Aug. 27, and deposited at least a few of its human artifacts at the Masonic Temple for Adam Ant's performance there.

The lobby outside the building's Jack White Theatre was a temporary home to more Mowhawks and war paint than have been seen in one place since the last Sergio Leone casting call. Add some sailor garb and tri-cornered hats and you had a joyful reunion of New Romantics reliving the glory days of (perhaps thankfully) bygone fashions.

And not to be outdone, Ant himself came on stage in full pirate regalia, looking like Johnny Depp ready to start shooting the next "Pirates of the Caribbean episode.

Unfortunately, Ant (nee Stuart Goddard) and his four-piece band didn't quite live up to that august legacy during the show itself.

Though Tuesday's set was generous, blazing through 30 songs in just under two hours, it missed the kitsch and camp that was Ant's stock in trade during the late 70s and early 80s, as well as the nuance that makes his latest album, "Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter," such a revelation. This was a group set up to rock hard, with dense and dynamically limited arrangements propelled by a two-drummer attack and spiced by guitarist Tom Edwards' solos. The overall effect was loud, thrashy and one-dimensional -- which hardly did justice to favorites such as "Kings of the Wild Frontier," "Strip," "Ant Music," "Goody Two Shoes" or "Prince Charming."

Nor was it the optimal venue for that kind of show. What fit so well last year in a club setting (at the Crofoot in Pontiac) seemed stiff and somewhat out of place in the ornate, cathedral-like setting at the Masonic.

Consequently, Ant's show never really caught fire, but it did have moments -- particularly during anthems such as "Beat My Guest," "Hardmentoughblokes," "Stand and Deliver," "Room at the Top" and "Vive Le Rock," which were sturdy enough to handle the group's forceful arrangements. Ant and company did manage to dial back effectively for the relatively quite "Wonderful" -- "The only love song I ever wrote," he noted -- while T. Rex's "Bang a Gong (Get It On)" during the encore was a fitting cover in the historically wide-ranging context of the rest of the show.

Ant certainly came close enough on most of the song to let his fans, whether sporting period attire or not, revel in their memories. But here's hoping that next time through he does more to enhance rather than merely reference them as he did on Tuesday.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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