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Location: Anaheim, California, United States

Regular contributor ("Carson City Limits" and other content) for Random Lengths (circulation 56,000) in San Pedro, CA, 2001-present. Manga reviewer: LA Alternative (circulation 150,000), 2005-2006. Some manga reviews also ran in NY Press around this time. Entertainment reporting: Music Connection (circulation 75,000), 1983-1906. Travel writing: Oakland Tribune (1998) and Life After 50 (2006). Other bylines: Goldmine, Star Hits, Los Angeles Reader, Los Angeles Times, Long Beach Press Telegram, Blade, BAM, Daily Breeze, LA Weekly. Specializations include community news reporting, writing reviews (book, theater, concert, film, music), copywriting, resumes, editing, travel writing, publicity, screenwriting, lecturing, and content development. Education: B. A. Theater Arts, UCLA. Post-grad work, Education, Chapman University.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Adam Ant at the Greek Theater, Oct. 18, 1985

To borrow a phrase from an Adam Ant song ("Cut off his head, his legs come looking for you" from "Antmusic") there are times when Adam Ant is perfectly capable of cutting off his own head--he doesn't need any unsympathetic press to do it for him.  Last year's Strip tour was a sad shallow caricature that hit bottom when he threw wet socks to the adoring hordes.  (Never mind how the socks got wet in the first place.)

This time his Friday night set at the Greek Theater made up any previous embarrassments and allowed him to shake the teenybopper-trash label he's unfairly acquired.  Sorry to disappoint you guys but the audience wasn't simply a horde of screaming underage females.  There was a fair share of screaming males and adult women, so I think it's time to cut the "Tom Jones for teenyboppers" putdown.  Sure he gets presents of kisses and ladies' undies, takes off his shirt, and says things like, "Wanna play with my guitar?" but if you have a problem with that, you don't know rock.  It's time to admit Adam Ant is at least as notable a figure of eighties rock as--Madonna.

Sure like many of the best, Adam's only rules are no rules, and that can cause artistic differences.  "Strip" remains cutesy innuendo and little else, although "Playboy" from the same album got a much needed revamping and rocking-up.  But how about the variations of rhythm in "Stand and Deliver," or the British humor laced through lyrics like "Desperate but not Serious" and "Goody Two Shoes," or the dynamic latest hit, "Vive Le Rock," that if peformed by any other artist would have the rock media crowing about what a classic anthem it is?

Adam seems to be re-embracing his identity as a rocker (he seemed to be wandering into some kind of techno-disco for a while) and he's trimmed his back-up to a basic rock trio.  All are musicians who've been with him several years:  Bogdan "Count" Wiczling, on a drum kit specifically designed to replicate the sound of two drummers, Chris "DeNiro" Constantinou on bass guitar, and Marco Francesco Andrea Pirroni (formerly known as just Marco, he's been a Keith Richards to Adam Ant's Mick Jagger since the seventies) is offically back on guitar.  All can work up a sweaty beat that's danceable but rocks hard!  Pirroni (who really needs to establish his own career as one of rock's better guitarists) has at times been stoic onstage but tonight he was trading licks and laughs with Ant, who himself can play a few rockabilly licks now and then.

True Ant fans ("Antpeople") are not fooled by a cynical media suggestion that their idol's current leather image is a desperate grab for credibility.  He had a wild noble leather look even before MTV did.  And wild and noble Adam Ant was this evening, bouncing off the proscenium wall (literally) and pacing ninety minutes so briskly they seemed like nine.  By the time he hung from the stage rigging for his finale, "You're so Physical," as always, he had us exhausted but begging for more.  Isn't that what rock's all about?  Vive Le Rock, indeed!




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