Adam at the ICA!

Here's where it all began... On May 10th 1977 Adam and the Ants made their first public appearance.

The Ants were far from what the restaurant was expecting. Adam had told the management that his group were a country and western band in order to get in. Adam, dressed in leather and wearing black mascara, opened with "Beat My Guest" and was quickly ejected from the building. Little did the management know then that they had just made a bit of history...

This was not the end of the story... Adam managed to continue his performance during the interval of a John Dowie show. Exactly how Adam came to get this slot is a mystery - some sources say that Adam threatened John Dowie, where as others suggest that John was happy to let Adam continue.

These photos originally appeared in issue 9 of Ant News Today - the old Adam Ant fan club. This issue came out to celebrate 10 years of Antmusic. Two concert reviews were also printed in this issue - here are the highlights of these reviews...

avAntgarde by Jane Suck (Nashville, Sept '77)

"Shattering close-ups! Candid crutch shots! Rich juicy colour... and that was only the poster for the gig! The Ants have been working hard for their 'moment' - pursed lips drop open, and genuine astonishment rules the waves once more. Yay! Wonderfully disturbing, divinely exhilarating."

"The band played their ace card first with 'Plastic Surgery'. Adam, vocalist and composer of the band's set, twisted and hiccupped his way through the song, his falsetto outbursts coming as a welcome relief to the monotone slur so de regeur of this 'scene'. 'Puerto Rican', 'B-side Baby', 'Duetscher Girls' and more. The inimitable wailing of ex-Sex star, Jordan, on 'Lou' was another treat."

"The Ants, with their barbed sound - guitar, bass, drums - and jugular attack are not an immediate band, but the best bands never are."

"Unplug the jukebox, kids, and learn about addition... (where have I heard THAT before?!)

Adam and the Ants by Chris Brazier (no date, early '78?)

"Song titles like "Whip in my Valise" suggested just another messy S&M blow-job. But at London's Marquee last week, they weren't so bad."

"The music is patchy, often descending, as with 'Concentration' and 'Beat My Guest', into all-too-familiar quickstep drones. But there are as many moments of interest. The spartan darkwing opening, for instance, on 'It Doesn't Matter', slower and more assestive than the norm, trialing rhythmic originality and an appropriate solo from Johnny Bivouac.

"Or 'Send A Letter to Jordan', a bizarre love-song veering into the ditch, casting Jordan as a '78 Monroe, an ultimate beauty to whom the message is "Tell her she's a lady." What?!"

"That song is absurd because Jordan actually goes out of her way to make herself as ugly as possible, setting her hair into long nightmare spikes. She still has the desired shock effect even when you know what to expect. She sings just one song, called 'Lou' or 'New York Coke Joke', and is the Ants' centre-piece."

"Actually, she doesn't sing it, she bawls and bellows with an incredible throat-tearing screech and a total disregard for tune."

"There is something there, even if I don't quite know what..."

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