We here at Jankysmooth consider Adult. a must-see show every time they swing into Los Angeles. We follow their career closely, always giving them credit and props for every step on this avant-garde journey to push the boundaries of music. They make artistic moves beyond anything anyone else is doing, totally devoted to their music and legacy over seemingly everything. Every music new music video is a slice of imagination from another dimension that no one thought of before them. It’s freshness personified, even if no gets it. What makes them great, is that usually, everyone gets it no matter how weird it is. Adult. makes art in the simplest, most inspiring terms. Without boundaries, full of riddles, and able to be interpreted ad infinitum. Their show at the Lodge Room was much anticipated, this is a venue I knew the band should play for the longest time, thinking that stage and its epic backdrop would suit their music and audience perfectly. The Lodge Room has always hosted the most cutting-edge artists that the underground adores.
The evening’s lineup was filled with such powerful artists beginning with industrial’s freshest young duo: Spike Hellis. Harkening the sounds of early Skinny Puppy but with a bouncier, more danceable edge, this group’s commitment to collaboration makes their sets spellbinding confrontations against authoritarian uniformity, each and every time. Both members play and sing together to the point neither ever takes a spotlight over the other. Every song is a tag team industrial effort to get the audience revved up on their electric level. The music of Spike Hellis is at its core a weapon, as much as you like to dance to it, the message doesn’t get lost in the disruptive sound. Whatever oppresses you, this music is a stiff punch to any system’s face, just accompanied with a little jive to strengthen the swing.
Kontravoid is a pure goth rave inside a single man’s vision. Blasting the undeniable gut-wrenching sounds of the age of the machines. Kontravoid made the Lodge Room dance in a hypnotized panic, as the lights glitched out to make you lose yourself in his industrial bounce. Few solo artists are able to command an uproarious crowd with so much control, still though, Kontravoid dons a mask, choosing to let the art be the only spokesman for the gothic happenings he creates.
Adult. will keep touring and releasing new albums until their mission is complete. That mission is to be cemented as one of the most iconic acts in underground music history. This is going to be a reality. There are many other huge bands originating from the underground that had major moments in music culture that then eventually faded away to become passe. Adult. on the other hand, have a different story, they’ve had this slow crawl, constantly picking at the culture like a scab, with incremental increases of relevance that grow larger and larger until you see their whole body of work in retrospect and stand in awe of everything they’ve accomplished over the decades. They’re climbing a mountain inch by bloody inch. Mark my words, this band will be remembered as something larger than life. Just two people with complete commitment is all it takes. The blood, sweat and tears will not be for nothing.
Since the last time I saw them, Adult. released Becoming Undone from their full-proof and permanent connection to the muses. This record was yet another example of their cutting-edge belief in weirdness, where the music seems off-putting and challenging, yet still magnetic enough to make your feet grow minds of their own and dance without reservation. Adult. is so original in their approach to music and art that you gain the confidence to be just as original in their presence so you can stop thinking about how you look when you invent some crazy dance that only fits the strange arrangements of an Adult. song. The music video for “Fools (We Are…)” speaks volumes as to how this band operates completely outside of any boxes. It’s certainly not goth to feature characters roaming around the john, however theres something strangely hypnotic about the repetition and freshness of the idea. You cock your head a bit, confused but in that confusion, you tap into the purpose of art. You think, you question, and only in the case of artists like Adult., somehow you dance.
We all danced the night away at the Lodge Room. Your spirit can attach to the beats to cease from thinking or your mind can attach to lyrics and get lost in thought. It’s a phenomenon you only see with this duo, making high-concept dance music with a punk rock edge. That punk rock edge is sometimes understated with a lot of club bangers throughout their recent albums and association with goth, but I don’t see the music of Adult. as “dark” necessarily. I think it’s punk, and in the encore to the band’s performance, with renditions of “Glue Your Eyelids Together” and a cover of The Screamers’ “122 Hours of Fear”, the band’s punk roots were on full display.
Words: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Pedro Carrera