One can define the admirable aspects of the British rock band Adam and the Ants by their optimism. The five Britishers played at the sold-out Bayou last night, their first American foray after ruling the top of the charts in England for the past seven weeks. Any band that bases its image halfway between Errol Flynn piracy and Apache chic is bound to be colorful and quixotic, and the contemporary pop scene can certainly use bright moments and bright approaches.
The music, too, is a curious amalgam of rhythms as ancient as Africa and as modern as London 1980; accents as heroic as Duane Eddy, Ennio Morricone and John Barry; embellishments as witty as Chuck Berry and as intense as Johnny Lydon. In the context of "The Concept," the music comes in a very close second, which is just as well, because it's still in a state of construction. But while the ears relax, the eyes can enjoy the quite colorful crew led by glamorous swashbuckler Adam Ant. He is a singing fashion plate, charismatic, likeable, a bit unpredictable with Indian-like whoops and hollers and primitive yodels popping into his performance.
If the group looks a bit like Paul Revere and the Raiders transported to London, never mind, because it's all infectious fun, powerfully loud, highly danceable, full of innocuous pop pomp and circumstance celebrating pleasure and tribal pride. Adam and the Ants landed in the night, and judging from the crowd reaction, they came as pirates with more than one hook.