Johnny Depp has said that he based his sozzled pirate Captain Jack Sparrow in part on Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones. But watching another British rock star gallivant around the stage at Royale on Monday night, it seems possible that Depp had at least fuzzy memories of the cut of Adam Ant’s jib.
During his ’80s heyday, Ant hoisted the Jolly Roger while rocking a nutty war-painted dandy pirate fashion sense and belting out everything from punky snarls about S&M (like “Whip in My Valise”) to pure pop ditties (like “Goody Two Shoes”).
Ant has struggled with mental health issues in the last decade-and-a-half but has been enjoying a solid comeback over the last two years. While the US reception hasn’t been as loud as in his native UK, where he had more hits, Ant (real name: Stuart Leslie Goddard), appears up to the task.
During his nearly-two-hour set Monday, a fit Ant — decked out in an iteration of his ’80s look, including the British Army jacket and a Napoleonic chapeau — was a high-energy presence, his fleet feet still nimble and his idiosyncratic shout/war cry/croon in sturdy shape.
Backed by the capable The Good, The Mad, and The Lovely Posse — vitally including two drummers — Ant delved into the (sometimes wildly) disparate chapters of his catalog.
He reached all the way back to the late ’70s for noisier, new wave tunes like “Zerox” and the galloping “Cartrouble.”
He dipped into the more stylized era of the early ’80s with Burundi-beat-powered gems like “Dog Eat Dog,” “Kings of the Wild Frontier,” and the stately manifesto of dandiness “Prince Charming.”
The accessible ’80s pop phase was represented by the giddy “Goody Two Shoes,” “Desperate But Not Serious,” and the even-sillier-sounding-now “Strip.”
And the straightforward rock of later ’80s and ’90s tracks like the revving “Vive Le Rock” and “Room at the Top” were strong. Both his onstage vibrance and a pair of tunes from his forthcoming album, due in January, pointed to Ant still having some treasure left to plunder.