ADULT. hail from Detroit in the United States and this was going to be the duo’s first live performance in London for several years… thus fans were greedy to see the enigmatic Nicola Kuperus in dark, sterile vocal form with partner Adam Lee Miller on keyboards.
The gig was to showcase and promote their fifth album ‘The Way Things Fall’; the previous was prophetically titled ‘Why Bother?’ and so they didn’t for six years! However, the multi-talented couple were far from idle and have kept busy in the intermediate years indulging in their love for photography and film making.
First track tonight was their cover of 1970s LA punk band THE SCREAMERS’ ‘122 Hours of Fear’, a dark and throbbing slice of new wave, the first line inviting the audience “to be quiet or be killed”! And so the scene was set… fan favourite ‘New Object’ from the ‘Resuscitation’ collection followed – dirty, gritty electro punk. Kuperus wanted the lights turned down and the dry ice turned up – her wish was granted and so the stunning couple began to fade out of the audience’s view. Next came the brilliant ‘Heartbreak’, contagious synthpop hinting of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Big Muff’ and the first track to air from the new album. Again the plea went out for less lighting on stage until only the lights from the onstage synths were visible.
The compelling ‘Hand To Phone’ preceded the new single ‘Tonight, We Fall’ which was a haunting and powerful slice of dark electronica. Then came ‘Shari Vari’, another track from the ‘Cover(s)’ EP, the live version delighting with a hint to SIMPLE MINDS’ single ‘I Travel’; the track pulsated rhythmically in unison with the dry ice machine that was earning its keep big time. By now, the venue was pitch black. ADULT. appear to crave to be invisible from the audience but one wonders if the reverse is a welcome option too. Cheers went out as soon as the first notes of ‘Blank Eyed, Nose Bleed’ were recognised by the highly appreciative crowd while new album track ‘Love Lies’ provided a sombre warning of the perils of attachment.
The uncharacteristically chirpy but highly infectious ‘Idle (Second Thoughts)’ had a definite Chinese flavour and ironically had a subtle nod towards Iggy and Bowie’s ‘China Girl‘, but it also highlighted Kuperus’ oft voiced vocal comparison to Siouxsie Sioux. The sinister ‘At The End Of It All’ was followed by the punchy KRAFTWERK styled ‘XZzX’ and even the most rigid of attendees must have been animated by this great track.
Finally, ‘Nite Life’ was introduced as the band’s “disco” track but then the main set was all over far too quickly. A hugely enjoyable oral feast, if FAD GADGET and GINA X along with the other artistes already mentioned are in your favourite record collection, then ADULT. would be a very welcome addition…
Special thanks to Debbie Ball at Create Spark
Thanks also to Gavin Brick for additional photography
Text by Deb Danahay
25th May 2013