Long before his bi-polar disorder sucked him down a hellish spiral, ages before he owned MTV as the white-stripe-painted, Burundi-drumming, Native American pop pirate, Adam Ant was a bizarro cult figure. With lyrics about alienation and S&M, Ant's 1979 debut LP, Dirk Wears White Sox, is dark, art-damaged post-punk that influenced bands as diverse as Bauhaus and Killing Joke. Svegali-scavenger Malcolm McLaren steered Ant to a popier-but-still-weird sound and then promptly swiped Ant's band. Yet nothing could stop Ant. Pulling off an equally glamorous and ridiculous look with swagger and panache, Ant ruled the New Wave roost with infectious beats and addictive chanted melodies. Then, in the late '90s, he dropped off the face of the earth. Returning from the wilderness of mental illness, Adam Ant skirts his thundering, sing-along sounds of yore, returning to the brittle, fractured experiments of his first LP. "Ridicule is nothing to be scared of," says an early lyric, and Ant currently sports a Captain-Jack-Sparrow-at-the-battle-of-Waterloo look to prove his point. Yet, peer past the image and you'll see Ant's dandified fingerprints on everyone from Vampire Weekend to Scissor Sisters. With Prima Donna. $24.50-$49.50 Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m. McGlohon Theater, 345 N. College St. 704-372-1000.