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Adam Ant announces the first essential Cornish gig of 2013, writes self-confessed Antperson Lee Trewhela

By West Briton  |  Posted: November 22, 2012

By Lee Trewhela

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ANYONE who reads my musings in What's On and social networking sites on a regular basis will be well aware of how Adam Ant instigated my obsession with music.

Indeed when I criticised this year's Eden Sessions line-up, the man behind them retaliated on Facebook: "Sorry Lee, we couldn't get Adam Ant."

Mock all you like ... as the great man said, ridicule is nothing to be scared of.

So it's with no little excitement that I can announce the last truly great British pop star (you can keep your Robbie Williams – even he doffed his cap and covered Antmusic) will play Hall for Cornwall, Truro, on Saturday, April 27 next year.

Those who attended his thrilling sell-out show at the Princess Pavilion, Falmouth, in June 2011 will know that Adam's well and truly back after the well-documented demons that have plagued him in recent years.

I may have bought the odd single by Ultravox and Talking Heads as a ten-year-old but that drumstick intro and the alien, tribal sound that followed when Antmusic blared from Radio 1 at the tail-end of 1980 changed my world forever.

The smell of removing the vinyl from the sleeve – which depicted Adam And The Ants, all sneering and chic, on a pirate ship – is forever burnt on my psyche. I weep for you, download generation ... you'll never know the ritual of owning real records.

And then we saw them on Top Of The Pops ... has there been a band before or since as colourful, stylish and gloriously over the top as the Ants? The two albums that saw Adam on the cover of every newspaper and magazine in the land and atop the charts – Kings Of The Wild Frontier (engineered by Truro's Hugh Jones) and Prince Charming – still sound weirdly exotic to this day.

Now that kids are charmed by smooth pop with all the charisma and edges ironed out, it's amazing how the children of the 1980s fell for the Ants so hard. For this was music swathed in layers of guitar feedback, pummelling drums, strange yelps and chants with a strong line in sex (indeed, my primary school teacher made me cut off the Antmusic for Sexpeople tag on a patch on my Harrington). Justin Bieber he wasn't.

For such a typically eccentric British construct, it's more bizarre that between 1981 and '82 Adam Ant was huge the world over.

That noise? A massive namedrop – be warned. I once told the Pixies' Kim Deal that her band (who did to the 17-year-old me what the Ants had done seven years earlier) were reminiscent of Marco, Merrick, Terry Lee, Gary Tibbs and Stuart Goddard himself – just listen to There Goes My Gun off Doolittle if you don't believe me. How taken aback was I when she then serenaded me with Adam's Goody Two Shoes? It doesn't get any better than that, boys, I can tell you. It demonstrates that even a young bassist from Massachusetts was well versed in Ant.

To be honest, Adam burned only briefly in my life – two great solo albums followed (Friend Or Foe, Vive Le Rock) but the Abba-lite Strip and his 1990s oeuvre, where he reinvented himself as a cockney Prince, are best forgotten.

But for a moment there he was the epitome of all that is great about British music.

And it was thanks to Adam that I investigated his even better punk past (Dirk Wears White Sox with its scratchy domestic dramas deserves the award for best lost classic) and, in turn, the Pistols, Clash, Stranglers and those he held up as influences – Roxy Music, T Rex and David Bowie, who was soon to usurp Adam in my affections.

In the last couple of years, since his first return gig proper at London's Scala in April 2010 (which I drove from Cornwall and back for and was worth every litre of petrol), Adam and his The Good, The Mad And Lovely Posse (yes, awful name) have won over audiences and critics with an incendiary combination of the hits and the post-punk era songs us diehards never thought we'd see performed again (Zerox, Physical, Beat My Guest).

The Truro show will undoubtedly feature songs from his new, raw album and tongue twister Adam Ant Is The Blueblack Hussar In Marrying The Gunner's Daughter, due on January 21.

The elephant in the room (not literally, though he is a large man) is Marco Pirroni who was just as important at forging the Ants' sound, but we ain't going to see those two together in the same room any time soon, so enjoy the experience of seeing Adam with a great backing band while you can.

As he once sang on the Kings album, "don't be square, be there".

Tickets (£28.50 plus £1 Theatre Fund payment) went on sale to Hall for Cornwall Friends yesterday and go on general sale on Wednesday. Ring 01872 262466 or head online to www.hallforcornwall.co.uk then.

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