Concert Review: The Return of Adam Ant - Live at Cubby Bear (Saturday, 10/13/12 in Chicago)

Concert Review: The Return of Adam Ant - Live at Cubby Bear (Saturday, 10/13/12 in Chicago)
Photo by Barry Brecheisen

Adam Ant made his long awaited return to Chicago Saturday night for a sold out show at Cubby Bear...

*** Editor's note:  I tried something new this week for the first time since I've been writing this blog:  a fan review!  Please welcome Adam Ant superfan and Palatine resident Brenda Teems who dutifully attended Saturday's show at Cubby Bear and submitted the following review.  Thanks, Brenda for a job well done!  -Jim Ryan ***

Adam Ant, the “Dandy Highwayman” who titillated teenage girls in the early 1980's, has ventured back into the spotlight after a nearly fifteen year absence from the music scene.  The punkish pop star broke out as MTV was just getting started, and his showmanship, costumes and upbeat songs seemed tailor-made for the emerging music video market.  A string of hits including “Goody Two Shoes”, “Stand and Deliver” and “Strip” made him one of the more popular performers of the time (INXS once opened up for him).

The line formed early outside the Cubby Bear for the sold-out show on Saturday.  Everyone was friendly, and even the rain couldn't dampen the spirits of those waiting to see the eighties pop icon.  This was my fifth time seeing Adam Ant, and my first time catching a show at Cubby Bear.

The stage and the main floor are smaller than what I am used to, but it's laid out nicely, you're never far from the stage, a bar or a restroom and I never encountered a line.  The staff was friendly and upbeat. 

The drum-heavy Brothers of Brazil opened up the show with a high-spirited set of bossa nova/rockabilly/punk songs.   A strange sounding combination, but the duo fused them into a unique sound that came together seamlessly.

Adam Ant - Live in Chicago - Saturday, 10/13/12 at Cubby Bear (Photo by Barry Brecheisen)
Photo by Barry Brecheisen

In past shows, Adam Ant has heavily promoted a recently-released album; not so this time.  He showcased his entire portfolio, playing at least one song from each of his albums, and emphasizing his edgy, early work.  The iconic stripe across the face is gone, replaced by an oversized pair of glasses. The “Ant Warrior” persona created for his early Kings of the Wild Frontier has aged into a somewhat battered Napoleonic soldier.  The energetic stage antics are also gone (although, to be fair, the small stage would not allow for much amp jumping and high-kicking, especially with his signature two drum sets).  The voice is still there;  as are the trills, the warrior cries and the da diddley qua quas, but at times they were overshadowed by his new back-up band, The Good, The Mad and the Lovely Posse.

Besides the obvious visual differences, the performer himself seemed less comfortable than on previous tours.  There was very little interaction with the audience, and I believe he spoke fewer than five sentences all evening; what little he did say seemed tense and rehearsed.  Affability aside, whether you just came as a fan of the pop songs played on the radio (“Room at the Top”, “Wonderful”, Goody Two Shoes”, “Strip”, “Stand and Deliver”) or as a real antperson who wanted to hear the rawer songs from the punk days (“Whip in My Valise”, “Ants Invasion”, “Red Scab” “Cartrouble”, “Xerox”) the show did not disappoint.  I hope this tour serves to make Adam Ant more comfortable in his own skin and more confident in his stage presence and his fan base.

Adam Ant’s latest album, Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter is expected to be released in early 2013.

*** Review written by Brenda Teems

Adam Ant - Live in Chicago - Saturday, 10/13/12 at Cubby Bear (Photo by Barry Brecheisen)
Photo by Barry Brecheisen

 *** For more of Barry Brecheisen's ChicagoNow Eye-Tunes photos of Adam Ant, click HERE ***


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  • The Cubby Bear show was a testament of one of the best artists to come out of the 80's. It's been a long time coming for Chicago to get a live dose of Antmusic and it's nice to see Adam Ant in fine form after a 12 year absence. The next night in Milwaukee was a more well rounded performance and he seemed to be more into the show than in Chicago. Perhaps it was the confines of the tiny stage at Cubby Bear or maybe Chicago was a slightly off night after coming in from Detroit. Either way, an off night for Adam is still truly a solid performance. For a man that is going to be 58 next month, he performed an impressive collection of 28 songs both nights. AS you said he played every aspect of his career and really dug deep for tracks only the true fan would know. Add a great young backing band that includes two drummers and a sexpot backing singer named Georgie Girl and you got perfect live show! Let's hope with a new album to be released early next year, he won't wait another 17 years to show his face int eh Windy City!

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    Jim Ryan has written about music in print and online for a variety of Chicagoland publications for over fifteen years. In addition to duties filling in as Traffic Anchor on CLTV or in the helicopter on NBC 5, you can also catch him Sunday nights at 6PM central as host of "The Rock N' Roll Radio Program" on AM 1420 WIMS and AM 1060 WHFB (streaming at and via the TuneIn Radio app for the smart phone or tablet). Jim has also worked locally for WXRT-FM, lives within walking distance of the Metro and is an avid White Sox and Blackhawks fan whose first live concert experience came at Comiskey Park in 1984 during the Jacksons' "Victory" tour.

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