If there was anything superstitious about Friday the 13th or anything odd happening, it was as if a time warp to the eighties was underway.
A mixed crowd tonight with parents bringing their kids along and teenagers dressed more like they were living in the eighties then those who actually spent their teen years in those groovy times.
Before going all the way back to the eighties however we took a trip back to the late nineties with Newcastle born Diana Anaid.
With acoustic in hand the beautiful singer/songwriter sang her way through well-constructed songs about life, love, ups and downs and everything in between. Coming across as the Australian equivalent of Alanis Morissette, the alternative rock/pop on display is world class.
Keeping up to date with politics of today, “Black Rainbow”, shows her dislike for Donald Trump, something many musicians share, as do fans, praising Anaid for speaking up.
The real highlight was seeing Anaid with a faultless performance of “I Go Off”, which put her on the map back in 1997 – which also saw her self-titled debut released. Twenty years on and fifth record, My Queen (2017) is Anaid’s latest offering.
After strumming the hell out of the guitar with the aforementioned tune and another to follow, it was time for another acoustic and a slight tune up before Anaid got back into it, proving to be a fresh of breath air, with a clear, crisp sound before the time machine was set back to 1980.
As the tour focused mainly on second album, Kings of the Wild Frontier (1980), with tonight’s event showcasing Sydney’s leg of its 35th Anniversary tour de force. Of course written by Adam & The Ants, well known for their bursts of new-wave and post-punk between 1977 and 1982, Ant has been doing it solo since and brought one tight band along to our shores.
Joining the ranks on the tour were guitarists A P Leach (Fields of the Nephilim), Will Crewdson (She Made Me Do It, Scant Regard, Flesh for Lulu), bassist Joe Holweger (Seven Dead, Spiderbites), and dual drummers, Jola and Andy Woodard.
From opening track “Dog Eat Dog” Ant was running around the stage full of beans, like an energetic teen rather than a 62 year-old. Tapping before breaking into song and dance with possibly the one song the group were most well-known for that being, “Ant Music”. The song was performed to perfection as were all songs on this special night.
It was good to hear the well-written “Feed Me to the Lions” and the distinct riff of “Ants invasion”, one of Ant’s heavier numbers, in which the front man brought out his electric guitar for some extra crunch. As shown later in the night the guitar would make its return showing Ant not only to be a pop icon but one hard rocker.
Punters screamed the words back to “Jolly Roger” as Ant pranced around in his well-known pirate uniform. The dual drumming was a stand-out – something Ant’s live performances are renowned for. During the title track the drum rolls in sync rattled the Theatre – overpowering to say the least – with both guitarists on bongos, as bassist Holweger set the groove, pummeling along to the infectious sounds.
Only looking over the crowd to the response of cheers in between songs it wasn’t until the after the final track of the iconic record, “The Human Beings”, that Ant welcomed Sydney, “that was Kings of the Wild Frontier, in the order I wanted it to be heard,” he informed us, before belting into his other well-known hits.
With a two-hour performance fans, old and new alike, were in for a treat as songs such as “Never Trust a Man (With Egg on His Face)” and “Cartrouble” off the debut, Dirk Wears White Sox (1979), “Goody Two Shoes”, crowd favourite “Stand and Deliver” and the title track to Prince Charming (1981).
Tracks from Ant’s solo career went down well with favourites such as “Goody Two Shoes”, “Desperate But Not Serious” and the title-track to Friend or Foe (1982), all taken from his solo debut record.
“Puss ‘n Boots” and the title-track to Strip (1983) also saw the light of day as did “Apollo 9” and the title-track to Vive Le Rock (1985)
Coming out for an encore, ditching the pirate uniform for band tour shirt, a tight set was ended with “Physical (You’re So)”, which was an extra track for the 2004 US Reissue of Kings of the Wild Frontier.
It was a good way to end the celebration of what tonight has been about – the 35th birthday of one of the most iconic new-wave albums of the time. The eighties took over the Enmore tonight as they are bound to take over our living rooms for endless years. Time to pull out the vinyl and celebrate what was on unforgettable night!
Photos by Jess Miller.