Adam Ant: New York City, NY October 6, 2012
The Best Buy Theater
New York City, NY
October 6, 2012
A perfectly paired show rolled into the Best Buy Theater on October 6, 2012. The sold out, Saturday night show positioned the rockabilly/punk Latin siblings Brothers of Brazil as the opener for Adam Ant's rescheduled New York City stop with The Good, The Mad and The Lovely Posse. Resembling a group entering a masquerade ball, many fans donned pirate garb and elaborate headpieces , harkening back to the height of Ant's 1980s costumed Ant Music days, while others broke out patent leather dominatrix boots, all adding to the campy vibe.
Promptly at 8:00, Supla and Joao, the suave Brothers of Brazil, bounded onto the stage. Joao, dark haired and handsome in a tailored steel gray suit, manned the guitar and shared vocals with Supla, who sported a completely different look: a jaunty ensemble complete with kilt, tube socks, sneakers and spiky blonde hair, all while his bare legs bounced beneath the drum kit. Despite a slight issue with the sound during the opening song (which Supla disappeared backstage to rectify), the 30-minute set was flawless and unique. Defining the band's sound was nearly impossible, as these charismatic musicians seamlessly melded bossa nova, samba, rock, punk and funk. A new category could be created for this band: perhaps Lounge Punk?
Hosts on their own variety show in their native country called Brothers, the band used its charm and boundless energy to win over the audience, who wildly applauded when Supla jumped up from his drum kit and kicked around a soccer ball onstage during a rockin' version of "The Girl From Ipanema," sung in Portuguese, finally launching the ball into the eager crowd. Performing in front of a huge Adam Ant backdrop that was not lit up but stood as a subtle ghost of the headliner to come, a single black T-shirt, with the Brothers of Brazil's logo, was carefully placed over one of the speakers at the edge of the stage, while Joao passionately commanded the guitar in rockabilly fashion behind it, as he strutted around the stage.
The song selection came from the group's last two releases: the self-titled Brothers of Brazil (Side One Dummy, 2011) and EP On My Way (Side One Dummy, 2012). A deluxe, 17-track version of On My Way (Side One Dummy, 2012) was also released later in the year. Supla dedicated "Paparazzi" to Amy Winehouse as white strobe lights flickered on and off, simulating camera flashes. The band used tongue-in-cheek lyrics with masterful musical prowess to capture the attention of the crowd, employing quirky songs like "I Hate The Beatles," complete with lyrics that announced "I hate the Beatles / Maybe it's because I love them so much." A fast-paced version of John Lennon's "Imagine" was inventive and handled beautifully, while "Samba Around the Clock" was a happy ditty that had just the right amount of edge.
"This next song was inspired by John Lennon, in that photo of him in front of the Statue of Liberty," explained Supla as they jumped into "Viva Liberty." "True Friend," and "I Love the French" were standouts, as well as the extremely radio -friendly and instantly haunting "On My Way." Opening and closing the set with the short but engaging theme song "Brothers of Brazil," Joao sang, in falsetto, "We are the Sisters of Brazil," before grabbing the t-shirt from the stage and lobbing it into the audience as the house lights came up.
Anticipation was palpable in the venue during the half-hour break between sets. Hardcore fans hoped that Ant could still bring the magic while naysayers preemptively speculated about the spectacle to come. "Don't you write anything negative about my Adam," chided a 40-something year-old clad in all black, who had arrived early and negotiated a spot against the barricade in the general admission pit, a few short feet from the stage, pleading with a female photographer to be kind to one of her '80s icons.
Within minutes of Ant taking the stage with The Good, The Mad and the Lovely Posse, it was obvious that all fears had been allayed and the party began. Opening with raucous versions of "Plastic Surgery," "Dog Eat Dog" and "Beat My Guest," Ant's energy matched the spirit he brought to the stage some two decades ago. Ever the dapper pirate, Ant pranced and twirled with aplomb. In a puffy white shirt, ornately detailed black jacket with gold embellishments and a burgundy sash-like cummerbund under a black hat detailed with feathers which sat slightly askew on his noggin, Ant aged well, with only the addition of a pair of glasses that slightly belied his age.
The Posse was indeed lovely, with backup singer Georgina Baillie-who rotated looks when she sporadically left the stage for a song here and there-as well as platinum blonde Yola , who appeared, at least from the waist up, to be wearing a silver sparkly dress as she perched behind one of two drum kits on stage. One bass drum read Adam, the other Ant, with a second drummer manning the other kit, introduced only as "Andy." Rounding out the six-piece band was guitarist Tom Edwardsand bassist Joe Holwegger. The Posse played like a band with a shared history: technically tight and enjoyable to watch on stage.
With minimal banter, Ant was clearly on stage to perform. One of the many highlights from the evening was his performance of a track from his upcoming Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner's Daughter, slated for a release in early 2013. The song, "Vince Taylor," had Ant's trademark feel, like one of his classic hits.
Not one to deprive the audience of his chart topping hits, the band struck all the right notes with crowd favorites including "Stand and Deliver," "Room at the Top," "Strip," "Antmusic," "Kings of the Wild Frontier," "Desperate But Not Serious," and "Goody Two Shoes." "Wonderful" started out with a sparse, acoustic arrangement, growing into a hard-driving full on rock number.
"Here's a song I wrote about Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away last year," Ant recounted, as he led the Posse into a spirited version of "Cleopatra." Asking the enthralled crowd if they like to rock, Ant and the band raised the bar with a seamless version of "Vive Le Rock." Emerging, after a short break, ready for an encore in a T-shirt and vest that showed his ample arm tattoos, Ant thrilled the crowd with "Christian D'or" , the surprise "Bang a Gong (Get it On)" and "Lady/Fall In. "
Any doubts were wiped away as the house lights came up and the packed venue emptied out onto the streets of midtown Manhattan, with Ant's soulful voice still resounding in their heads.
Brothers of Brazil: Christine Connallon
Adam Ant: Robert Kenney Images