Adam Ant: The King Of The Wild Frontier Amazes Rialto Theatre Tucson, AZ 2-11-17

Adam Ant: The King Of The Wild Frontier Amazes Rialto Theatre Tucson, AZ 2-11-17

Have the words Pop and New Wave ever been dressed in a more charmingly dapper and individualistic way than the thrilling style of Adam Ant? Born Stuart Leslie Goddard, England’s own Adam Ant rose to popularity at the end of the ’70s with his band Adam and the Ants. A band that would go on to pioneer the sound of the decade to follow, their 1980 album, Kings of the Wild Frontier, would be the focal point in the Post-Punk movement. Splitting up by 1982, while Adam and the Ants were no more, in ushered a new era for Adam Ant as he launched a successful solo career. Having his share of ups and downs through life, Ant has overcome it all with such posh and strength, earning him a deserved crown of music royalty.

Older, wiser, but no less a firecracker, Ant continues to tour in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Kings of the Wild Frontier. In fact, Ant has been out performing the classic album in its entirety, raising the question, would North America have a chance to see him live in the flesh? Answering the call in late 2016, Ant announced a North American tour, which kicked off on January 23rd. A run of shows many have been waiting a lifetime to see, Ant and his band continue to visit cities coast to coast, with the fun winding down back in New York City on February 22nd. 

Once a  young lad from the affluent inner city of central London sporting a pirate outfit, smeared with white greasepaint mark across his face, while incorporating an infusion of New Wave guitar sounds, with Banshee cry’s and ominous Burundi drums, three decades later, Ant’s eccentric sound came shuffling into Tucson, Arizona on Saturday, February 11th. Continuing his tradition of standing, dancing, swashbuckling, guitar playing, crooning, and owning the audience as only he can do, Ant along with backing Drummers, Andy Woodard and Jola, along with Guitarist William Crewdson and Bassist Joe Holweger were ready to give a sold out crowd at Rialto Theatre a night to remember. 

Starting it all off was LA Sunset Strip Glam Rockers known as Glam Skanks. Handpicked by Ant himself to open the tour, the all-female Rock band consists of Vocalist Ali Cat, Guitarist Veronica Volume, Bassist Millie, and Drummer Cassie. A band begun by Volume, she grew up surrounded by Rock-n-Roll with her dad being Bruce Witkin of Hollywood Vampires and her mom being a Rock photographer. Given the background, the girls come together to create a great mix of classic Glam Rock. 

Supporting their debut 2016 album, Glitter City, this hot female act possess their own signature style of having one heck of a good time, all while making real Rock-n-Roll. Opening their set with lipstick, sparkles, and glam, their anthem music that sounds more like a teenage cheer began with “G.L.A.M.” Grabbing everyone’s attention, they continued to roll on with “Teenage Drag Queen,” “Send Me A Postcard,” “Radio Blues,” before finishing off with “Glitter City.” Putting on quite a show unmistakably channelling Bowie, T. Rex, as well as The Sweet, Ali Cat moved with a sexual prowess spent in a lynxmotion fitting that of Jim Morrison and Robert Plant. Be sure to check out Glitter City and watch out for big things from this energized and uncensored band. 

To a completely packed house, from floor to the balcony above, during the intermission between the Glam Skanks and Adam Ant, there was a plausible amount of anticipation building throughout. Some of the Ant fans were so filled with ‘ant’icipation for their Prince Charming to return to the stage, they purchased or made their own pirate stylized jackets. In addition, many slid on their black leather pants, painted their warrior marks upon their faces, fascinated a pirate hat upon their heads, and were more than ready to join in with Ant’s warlike cry’s and whoops. 

Then, without any further ado, the king of all his frontiers took to his stage as flamboyant and a darling royal dandy as he ever was. With his bandmates in place, a swashbuckling dress code, and a microphone, the Burundi beats began and the set opened up with “Dog Eat Dog.” At sixty-two years of age, Ant has not changed much over the years; he is still a showman through and through.

With minimal interaction with the audience, it seemed like a good while passed by before Ant said, “Good Evening.” Not at all an issue with fans, he let his dance moves and music do all the talking as he performed with the heart of a lion, giving all his attention to Kings of the Wild Frontier. Playing hits such as “Antmusic,” “Los Rancheros,” “Ants Invasion,” “Killer in the House,” Kings of the Wild Frontier’s title-track, “The Magnificent Five,” and “Jolly Roger,” who in their right mind could complain?

Showcasing an ability to deliver so many of his hits with such passion, most in their youthful days would not be able to keep up with Ant’s vigorous energy. That is mind, it certainly helps that Ant’s voice is still up to the physical challenge of bringing every vocalized nuance and quirky mannerism to life. Touring can be quite grueling, and yet, here Ant still is, feeling like he is more in his prime today than anyone could ever try to imagine living up to.

Wrapping up Kings of the Wild Frontier, Ant performed “The Human Beings,” but this was by no means the end of the royal affair. The night was still abuzz and the amorous feelings of Prince Charming were in motion among the Antpeople, so the night moved forward with other classics such “Stand and Deliver, “Viva Le Rock,” and “Desperate But Not Serious.”

Keeping the excitement high, he dished out hits such as “Goody Two Shoes,” and of course, “Prince Charming,” before “Red Scab.” If that was not enough, Adam lifted his sold out crowd with a rapaciously delish rendition of T. Rex’s “Get It On” with the final exultation of “(You’re So) Physical,” all wrapped up as only Ant can do.

Delivering a show that was second to none, Adam Ant did not disappoint. Each song from Kings of the Wild Frontier sounded as crisp as ever. This was an album that connected with people, and still does thirty plus years later. Leaving it all on stage, all while sounding fantastic, his visit to North America has not tarnished the magic of his legacy one bit, it has only enhanced it. Those who missed the tour, shame on you, because The Wild Frontier is still ruled by this Pirate King.

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Song River
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Song River has over thirty years combined experience in photography and writing, from music to politics and everything in between. She is the owner of CowGirlZen Entertainment, a registered business that focuses on photography for both musicians and families, and also offers PR/social marketing/bios/press. Currently a photojournalist for several music magazines and a publicist/A&R for High Road Publicity. In her downtime, you might find her helping the homeless, volunteering to aid the elderly, hiking in the desert mountains, taking care of her family, cooking new dishes, gardening, beach combing, amateur astronomy, and traveling with her Nikon by her side at all times.

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