Show Review: Adam Ant @ The Belmont (7/26)

There are bands I want to go see just to see them. After Adam Ant‘s last trip into town spawned glowing reviews from a good friend, I decided to brave the heat and head to The Belmont to check out all the fuss.

Usually this is where I tell you to go past the break for pretty pics and show notes, but instead I am going feature a rant about copyright, releases and ownership. You see, Adam made a rather odd set of requests to be allowed to shoot his concert. I don’t trust releases that relinquish ownership, ever, not even for just one photo.

Anyway, I do have some sweet phone pics because my new phone is amazing. And yes, I do have a few comments about the performance…

So, the release went like this. I get to post one photo with out prior approval. Galleries require PR approvals. Photographers are instructed to turn over twelve shots of Adam with in 72 hours. Of those shots, Adam will get to choose one shot to do with whatever he wishes. The release had to be signed, scanned and submitted to PR people by 6pm the day before the show.

Despite declining to sign, I still received the review tix despite not shooting the show thanks to understanding reps with the venue. I had suspicions about that one shot clause and made my way to the merch table. Low and behold, I see portraits taken during shows used on $30 T-Shirts and in $20 tour photobooks ($30 if signed). I don’t feel bad for those photographers that should have been paid for those shots, they signed the release. I have signed releases not allowing sale of photos on a personal site or to another publication; I am a photojournalist, after all (the other insulting part of requiring gallery content approvals, like I want an artist to look bad or to purposely post shitty pics). Even if I offer up shots to a local artist to help them out, I always keep copyright…

Next time Adam comes to town, I will send him an agreement doc that he must send his setlist to me for approval by 6pm the day before the show and that he will turn over recordings his twelve best songs of the show of which I will select one and then post it for sale on bandcamp under the name Adam Aunt.

On to the show, Prima Donna opened. I’ll leave it at that.

Adam Ant has a very well known catalog from the 80’s. You don’t have to be a fan, but there has to be a song of his you can latch on to. His sound varies from 50’s dance party to punk rock. The newer material moved towards stadium rock, save for a rather punk rock cockney accented song about celebrities and the 1%.

He sticks with the hat and pirate garb, no matter the weather, couldn’t have been comfortable. The heat didn’t stop him from doing all he could to engage with each member of the crowd. Even through the eyeglasses, he managed to eyef*ck just about every person in the house.

The crowd was split. There were the nostalgia attendees (me, included) and the fans that have stuck with Adam all the way through. Both types were rewarded. The older material was refreshed by the cleaner, more driven arrangements of a band without horns and keys. The best part of the band (The Good, The Mad and The Lovely Posse) – two drummers. I am a sucker for two drummers. It adds so much depth as his songs are quite percussion heavy. I was also surprised that Adam is quite the guitar player. “Dog Eat Dog” and “Stand And Deliver” won the night.

Pics are courtesy of my phone from the middle of the crowd (trying to be polite unlike many other arm-based monopod people). Not quite the usual quality, but not bad, right?


  • music photographer

    Wile I agree with you not shooting do you not think that putting up phone pics instead is a bad idea as it implies you don’t need any better quality?

  • I debated about whether or not to use the phone pics. I got them home and, to be honest, was quite impressed with what I was able to capture. Yes, I would much rather have the big camera shots to share. It was pretty fun to just be in the crowd. You’ll notice that I didn’t hold it up over the crowd; I tried to be considerate to those behind me.

    The best camera is the one you have with you. I got the 1020 because it is the best camera in a smartphone, except for maybe Nokia’s own 808. Due to my decision to not sign the release, I used the best camera I had at the time. Share something, or share nothing – chose something.

  • Could I copy one of your pictures for my Website? I will give you credit of where it came from but it’s a personal site so it doesn’t make any money. Thank you.

  • Email me, Steve.

    brian (at) austintownhall dot com

  • That shoot was such a tough call for me! I had been chatting and dealing w/the opening act Prima Donna for weeks and met with them for about an hour before the show to interview and take pictures. Signed the AA release despite being totally against it. Went back and forth with their ppl in England who let me take the pictures I wanted for my own site and they quite honestly took a crap picture. I don’t feel good about signing it based on principle but decided to opt against reviewing the show to make me feel a little better and not give the tour any additional publicity.

  • Really like the Photos.
    They have a nice, realistic touch, because you don’t stand Front-Row.

    @music photographer: We don’t need this unreal, photoshopped Pics. Real Music, real Photos.

  • Thanks, Alexo. I intentionally left the phone eye level to get a crowd feeling. Fun challenge.

  • I was one of the people who did sign that release last year. But before judging, I was hired by the venue to shoot the show.

    The venue got their photos, AA’s PR people got 12 small jpegs to choose from and they told me which one they wanted as a full-res file. The one that they chose looks so much like a lot of other shots of him that are on the web that I doubt it will ever be used.

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