LIVE: Adam Ant, The Caezars & Viva Le Pink, Islington Assembly Hall 23/11/14
Opening up tonight are rockabilly outfit Viva Le Pink, who some of you may know as the new (well, newish) brainchild of Pure Rawk’s favourite twisted pop songstress of a few years back, Miss Kiria Lepink. Playing solid rockabilly with her own distinctive pink twist, Kiria has put together a great little band here, with not just the standard upright double bass (played ably here by Lyn Boorer, wife of Morrisey-collaborator Boz), but also some spectacular trumpet and sax players that add a mariachi and rock n’ roll swing respectively to the mix. Drawing a good crowd for first on, Viva Le Pink don’t fail to impress, and with an album rumoured for February 2015, this lot are certainly on our ones to watch list for next year.
Evidently Adam Ant has decided that on this fourth night of his four night run at the Assembly Hall, he is going to have an all-rockabilly support lineup, so next we have The Caezars. These boys play a fairly straight-up surf rock / rockabilly sound and play it well, but for me it’s all a bit too authentic with no real twist or sting in the tail, and rather passes by without any need for comment.
And so then to Adam Ant himself, tonight playing the 1979 album Dirk Wears White Sox in full. Hailed by many as some of his best work, and a favourite of fans and critics alike, I’m going to have to stick my neck out here and say I’ve never really got this album at all. I’d far rather hear the pop hits, of which Dirk Wears White Sox contains none, but there you go. However, you can’t deny the excitement in his following, as Ant fans of all ages are up on their feet dancing from the first recognisable song (about track two or three on that album as I recall…), and as a leather-clad 60 year old Adam grinds away up front, his by now six piece backing band (including two drummers) create a faithful, albeit increasingly more rock-based, interpretation of Adam and The Ants’ debut record.
With the full album played start to finish, to follow we get a mixed set from around that era and beyond, interspersed with fairly relaxed chatter from Ant himself, including a bit of reminiscing. We do at last get a tantalising whiff of the pop sound with Kings of the Wild Frontier, but, after two encores including Xerox and charming dandy ode to sado-masochism Whip In My Valise, we’re defiantly not treated to any of the latter career big guns tonight. Those, it seems, are in storage for the hinted-at Kings of the Wild Frontier 25th anniversary shows next year…