Adam And The Ants – Lyceum, London, WC2 – 21/11/80


Human Beings / Kick / The Magnificant Five / Antmusic / The Idea / Ants Invasion / Los Rancheros / Jolly Roger / Dog Eat Dog / Press Darlings / Beat My Guest / Zerox / Cartrouble

Killer In The Home / Physical / Kings / Fall In / Fat Fun / Plastic Surgery (part)

Taken from the ‘UK Frontiers’ tour, a tour that followed rapidly after the ‘Ants Invasion’ tour, which promoted the new line up’s recently released ‘Kings Of The Wild Frontier’ LP.

Strain starting to show esp at this showcase London gig when he wanders off with the band during ‘Plastic Surgery’ in a huff…due to the lack lustre audience. Wicked version of ‘Ants Invasion’ on this set though! This tour was just at the cusp of the band leaving there ‘underground darlings’ status to the band becoming a household name, featured on kiddies TV and magazines, which of course elevated Adam Ant as the new poster star for teenage bedrooms during the early eighties.

  1. carlbe
    January 18, 2008 at 9:49 am

    A great gig, Adam really getting wound up with the audience. What I would be interested to know from Tony or anyone else who was pretty close to all this is this… By the time of this gig November 1980, what was the audience made up of…had it crossed over yet from the underground into the teenyboppers or was it all a strange mix of the two ???

  2. Tony Puppy
    Tony Puppy
    January 20, 2008 at 1:08 am

    Carlbe – I’m trying to remember if I was at this gig or not. And what the feeling was about it.

    From the way Adam is pissed off it sounds like a mainly ‘new’ audience who don’t know about the old songs or care to do the chicken dance.

    I’ll get back to you on this one okay?

  3. carlbe
    January 21, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks Tony, just listened to the New Years Eve gig 1979, and the whole thing justs sounds so more powerful and together than the Marco incarnation which does sound a touch plodding. I had to smile when Adam announces to the crowd that contrary to the rumours that the band had not split…The benefit of hindsight, a wonderful thing as I seem to recall that it was only days after this gig that the band was pulled from under him.

  4. David Mantell
    David Mantell
    May 27, 2010 at 12:01 am

    In fact, as we now know, the Ants *had* split and reformed – Adam sacked Andy and Mathew in early October and he and Dave Barbe recorded a set of 9 demos at Solid Gold Sound studios as a blueprint for the next album:
    Mice In Freefall/Secret Art Of Learning a Language/Spell It To The Marines/Violin Fights/Picasso/Henry And His Baby/Killer In The Home/The Man Who Got His Hair Cut Short/Omelette From Outer Space.

    (notes: The sound on the demos is very soul/funk/disco orientated and not really to the tastes of most punk rockers circa ’79 which is probably why it didn’t beome a widespread bootleg, Omelette got released on the Kings remaster, it’s an early version of Ants Invasion and Adam actually sang some of the lyrics of it on verse one of Ants Invasion on some dates of the Invasion tour eg the Empire Theatre, Picasso is the Prince Charming album track minus only the “he’s on quality street” line, Killer is not the Kings track but rather an early version of what became Navel To Neck off the Strip LP, Henry & His Baby is about Eraserhead and was recycled from Adam’s July ’78 Notting Hill demos, Mice In Freefall dates back to late ’77 and a rough mix without the full vocal appeared on the Antmusic For Sexpeople CD, Secret Art, Killer, Henry & Picasso all got leaked in 2003 from an abandoned demos boxset Marco was working on for Sony and now circulate as bootleg mp3’s)

    Anyway, where was I? Yes well Do It rejected the demos and Adam was at a loss as to what to do next but just at that point Malcy entered his life and he needed a band once more for the project they were going to do. So Adam unsplit the Ants, Mathew returned but Andy was settled into the Monochrome Set by then, so Adam and Dave got Lee Gorman in whom they’d auditioned for a live band for gigs and thus the Adam/Dave/Math/Lee lineup was born.

    Unfortunately it was just at that point that the music press got hold of the Ants Split story and Adam went round frantically telling every journo in sight that it was bollocks, that all that had happened was that Andy had left and been replaced by Lee but otherwise it was business as usual and in the end he made that statement at the NY Eve gig.

    Ian Tregonin of Do It made reference to Andy & Mathew’s sacking in Chris Welch’s 1981 Ants book and it also got mentioned in the notes on the lyric sheet for the Antmusic EP. Adam finally came clean about it in his autobiography in 2006 and Dave Barbe’s cancelled autobiography Mud Sharks was going to have a whole load more about this period.

  5. jonnim
    October 8, 2010 at 7:36 am

    the gig was terrible,this line up never jelled,the electric ballroom at the start of the year was a highlight ! i saw this line up at the empire ballroom and the electric ballroom,canterbury and lewisham……what happenend?

  6. David Mantell
    David Mantell
    January 29, 2021 at 8:55 am

    There was a problem with Kevin Mooney’s bass stack that night, it kept cutting out, and by the time of Plastic Surgery the bass had become badly out of tune which was why Adam cut things short (leaving some in the audience taunting Kevin with shouts of “Andy Warren!” When they played Lewisham a few weeks later, they played Plastic Surgery again and this time got all the way through. Adam said in Sounds that the Lyceum gig was a bit of a disaster but the Lewisham gig made up for it.

  7. David Mantell
    David Mantell
    January 29, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Carlbe, the Matthew Ants in the second half of 1978 and the beginning of ’79 were quite similarly “plodding” to the Marco Ants. Compare a good quality copy of the Decca sessions to the CBS b-side versions of some of those same songs. Adam deliberately lightened up the sound in mid ’79. Dave Barbe went along with it, which was why all his big stompy tom drums got replaced with fluttery snare drumming, but at gigs Matthew continued to insist on turning his guitar up to full and rocking out with dirty Gibson distortion, even if it was trimmed to a clean jangly guitar sound on Dirk.
    It’s one of the great ironies about BOTH versions of the Ants – for a band that professed to be anti-rockist, they ROCKED like the proverbial person with an Oedipus complex.

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