On Tour: Adam Ant—The Friend or Foe Tour | 09.06.19

w/ Glam Skanks | 8:00 PM | The Pageant, 6161 Delmar Blvd. | All ages | Reserved $55 & $50, GA $37.50adv/$40dos,  $2 Minor Surcharge at Door

Sometimes, I think Adam Ant simply doesn’t get enough credit.

Armed with a singular vision and a penchant for undeniable pop hooks, Ant was a leader among men in the colorful post-punk era of New Romanticism. That’s why I would like to submit to you an album I feel is most certainly worthy of a thorough re-examination: Friend or Foe, his 1982 solo debut.

You can hear it in the first few bars of the title track that kicks off the record. From the soaring horns to the rockabilly guitars two-stepping across a bed of African rhythms, the Dandy Highwayman had something to prove, and he was hell-bent on infusing those sparkling grooves with as much side-winking joy and dark British wit as humanly possible.

Ant was just coming off the breakup of Adam and the Ants, but out of the wreckage, he took his co-writer Marco Pirroni, that irresistible Burundi Beat, and just a bit of Malcolm McLaren’s plastic pirate aesthetic, and never looked back. What came next was an album so fresh sounding and ahead of its time that Ant is currently celebrating it decades later with his “Friend or Foe Tour” coming to The Pageant this Friday.

From the summer-kissed vaudeville swing of “Something Girls” to the vamping strut of “Desperate But Not Serious,” these aren’t songs that you have to take the time to get used to; these are songs that arrive with their lace gloved hand reaching out and asking you to dance. By the time the album leans into its crowning achievement, the pop perfection that is “Goody Two Shoes,” dancing moves quickly from a careful consideration to an instinctual compulsion.

By the way, let’s give credit where credit is due. Those Burundi drums I mentioned before? Ant was infusing his music with those vibrant beats years before Paul Simon and David Byrne had the idea.

Having seen Ant perform several times through the past few years, I can confirm that he and his band still have what it takes to turn a concert hall into a dance hall. So if you ever dreamt of running away to London so you could hang out at Heaven nightclub and maybe form a band with the cool kids, get yourself to The Pageant for a healthy dose of Antmania.

Opening the show for Adam Ant will be the soon-to-be-legendary Glam Skanks. Last time I witnessed these ladies was at the Metro in Chicago opening for Ant, where they warmed up the crowd so damn good we were eyeing the fire escapes. I promise you they will rock your body like you’re feeling it for the very first time. | Jim Ousley

 

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