Adam Ant's U.S. tour made its way to Milwaukee Sunday night at the Turner Hall Ballroom, almost eight months after the original scheduled date was postponed. Even though the calendar read 2012, the whole night felt straight out of the mid-'80s.
After his band came on stage to the avant-garde track "Rock 'n' Roll Station" by Nurse With Wound, Ant followed but turned his back to the audience during the opening number of the set. Finally at the song's conclusion, Ant turned – dramatically – revealing his face for the first time and drawing instant applause and cheers.
Ant wore an outfit modeled on what he wore on the cover of the album "Prince Charming," looking like a cross between a French Revolution soldier, Captain Jack Sparrow and the '90s-era Milwaukee Admirals logo. Throughout the show, he stripped away elements of this outfit, ultimately revealing an Adam Ant 2012 U.S. Tour T-shirt. He even did a Hulk Hogan-esque move and ripped the top of this T-shirt, essentially turning it into a v-neck that revealed more of his chest.
The entire show was full of Ant prancing and preening, and based on the catcalls, he still has a niche audience to play to. After a number of songs, he would remove a handkerchief from his back pocket to wipe off his sweat. He then would dangle it and toyed with the audience like he was going to toss it to a lucky fan before putting it back in his pocket.
Unfortunately for him, only two songs into the night, after he had twirled the microphone stand around and strutted with confidence, Ant dropped the mic. The song didn't suffer from the mistake since this was during an instrumental portion, but it took Ant a couple of seconds to find where the mic had landed. Being a pro, Ant didn't let this accident stifle his antics the rest of the night.
While Ant did preview his upcoming album, due out around the end of the year, the biggest audience reactions were to songs from his catalog between Adam and the Ants and his solo career.
In one of the few interactions he had with the audience, Ant introduced his song "Antmusic" by saying, "This is a song you might know." Without hesitation, a passionate female fan responded "I know it!" In addition, he played established numbers such as "Cleopatra," "Vive Le Rock," "Lady," "Whip in my Valise" and of course his biggest hit, "Goody Two Shoes."
Overall, the show was a huge success for Ant, but there were times when his voice was drowned out by his backing band, "The Good, The Mad and The Lovely Posse,"which featured lead and bass guitar players, two drummers and a Jessica Rabbit-like backup singer whose primary role was posing poutily while dressed in sexy outfits. The two drum kits (one said ADAM, the other displayed ANT) in particular seemed unnecessary, as the female and male drummers often just mirrored one another.
Nevertheless, it was a triumphant return for a performer who has endured a bit of a rocky road, but clearly has a devoted fan base here in Milwaukee.
The opening act was the duo Brothers of Brazil. Consisting of actual brothers Supla and Jaoa Suplicy, the fun pair performed a number of covers, such as "Imagine" and "The Girl from Ipanema," with a unique approach that sounded like a tamer ska band. The pair also performed songs from its new album "On My Way," including the title track, which is a fantastic little song.
Appropriately, just as Ant had played "Antmusic," the Brothers of Brazil played a song called "Brothers of Brazil." Even though Supla might have been a bit over-enthusiastic toward the end of the set, it was great to see a band so genuinely excited to perform on the Turner Hall stage.
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