MANHATTAN, NY—The Adicts came together as a punk band in late 1975 in Ipswich, England, and are perhaps the last remaining punk band from that first punk rock era to retain its original lineup. Briefly known as Afterbirth & The Pinz, the band became known in its homeland when it changed its name, lightened its lyrics and in 1978 dropped a standard punk wardrobe for more than a passing resemblance to the unruly “droog” characters in Stanley Kubrick’s film A Clockwork Orange. The group is comprised of lead singer Monkey (born Keith Warren), who perfected Malcolm McDowell’s macabre “Alex” grin from the film, plus guitarist Pete Davison, bassist Mel Ellis and drummer Kid Dee (born Michael Davison, Pete’s brother). The Adicts released nine studio and three live albums, and had some underground success in the 1980s with the songs “Viva La Revolution” (featured in the video game Tony Hawk’s Underground), “Chinese Takeaway,” “Bad Boy” and “Give It To Me Baby.” The most recent album is 2012’s All The Young Droogs.
Performing a rare U.S. concert at the Highline Ballroom on May 29, the three musicians in The Adicts came on stage wearing their customary all-white shirts and trousers. Monkey followed wearing joker face paint along with a colorfully-sequined suit, vest and hat, white shirt and white gloves. The band tore into a ripping punk rock anthem, “Joker In The Pack,” as Monkey dropped playing cards repeatedly into the audience.
Throughout the concert, Monkey wore colorful wardrobe and tossed into the audience a party-store full of confetti, streamers, little stuffed animals and supersized beach balls. The theatrics were a joyful spectacle that combined the best elements of a child’s birthday party, a carnival and a horror show. It would not have made any sense except that the band’s punk rock was superb. The songs were loud, fast and short, energized with thrashing power chords and Monkey’s angry vocals. The tracks were far more multi-dimensional than typical punk rock, and incorporated occasional brief forays into pop, cabaret and even carousel music. With a distinctive image, sensational live shows and anthemic songs, The Adicts are 35 years into entertaining punks and rockers with an inimitable combination of high theatrics and good-time rock and roll.