Adam Ant, O2 Academy

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Adam Ant, O2 Academy

MUSIC 80s-style is big business - just look at those annual Here and Now shows which pack in the punters at arenas around the country.

But for all the Boy Georges, Kim Wildes and Jason Donovans who fill such stages, there’s always been a big black hole - to be precise, an Adam Ant-sized hole.

Now he’s back. The one-time dandy highwayman has had his well-documented ups and downs so a decent Academy crowd seemed a bit unsure of what to expect.

Clad in trademark 19th century hussar-type outfit, the early numbers seemed hesitant, as if band and audience were still checking each other out.

But by the time Adam and backing singers Twinkle and Georgie Girl had stormed through Deutscher Girls and Stand and Deliver, everyone had decided they were in for a good time.

Soon Adam was relaxed and name-dropping like mad, including a well-deserved credit to Malcolm McLaren, inspiration behind his career-changing Burundi drum beat.

Kurt Cobain, Miles Davis, even our own Dave Berry also starred in the anecdotes.

“What’s next? Oh, another number one,” he smiled, checking the set list before piling into Goody Two Shoes, Kings of the Wild Frontier, Ant Music and more.

A tough, muscular band gives this comeback its credibility, with former 3 Colours Red man Chris McCormack excellent on guitar.

A strangely touching Prince Charming - ridicule is nothing to be scared of, indeed - was saved for the encore along with grungy covers of Get It On and No Fun.

Good fun, actually.

Mike Russell