Friday, 22 July 2011

Latitude Festival 2011: Saturday - Adam Ant, The Word Arena

Adam Ant, The Word Arena

Adam Ant is one of those artists that most people undoubtedly have heard of but struggle to think of a single song by them. I myself was unfamiliar with his works outside of Stand and Deliver prior to Latitude, but I figured that such a well known name would deliver a set worth watching. I was aware of Adam Ant's reputation for dressing up extravagantly, so I arrived at The Word Arena expecting a pretty flamboyant performance. But my hopes were dashed as Stuart Leslie Goddard walked on stage sporting a pirate costume and middle-aged-man-working-on-a-novel spectacles, which looked far from the Bowie-esque appearance he was once known for. He was certainly no Marc Almond in that department. It was an odd feeling to be disappointed that someone's costume wasn't pretty enough.

Contrary to the anticipation I was feeling of one of the most entertaining sets of the weekend, I actually found myself quite bored. The singer, if you can call him that - more of a disgruntled shouter, was adamant (see what I did there? Adamant?) in lifting his shirt to reveal a t-shirt with an image of his young self, which was not only irritatingly egotistical but also rather depressing considering his plainer appearance and visible ageing - especially when revealing his torso which was far less sexy than I'm sure it used to be.

The only thought spinning round my head was 'the 80s, I guess you had to be there'. I could not comprehend what was appealing about the unpredictable, messy structure of his songs that took 2 minutes to perform and sounded like they took the same amount of time to write. The songs sounded random in their formation to the extent that I was surprised he remembered how to perform them the same more than once. This style of 80s punk strikes me as being nothing more than an outlet for people who can't sing to be in a band.

On top of the sting of the London accent arrogantly entering my ears as if uninvited, like the annoying person in a group that has to shout the loudest to make sure his joke gets heard, Goddard's self-indulgent stage presence made him appear pretty unlikeable. Other than the odd obvious Adam Ant fan wearing the trademark tri-corner hat, I think it's safe to say a lot of people were unaware of many of his songs - which only made it more ironic that Goddard was acting like he was the number one star of the festival.

A once in a lifetime gig for some people, incredibly dull for others. I'd sum up this review with some terrible joke like 'he should be crushed like an ant', but that's a little harsh. It was just pretty bad.

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