Thursday, 16 May 2013

Light Asylum + Adult.

Live at XOYO 15/05/13

I should probably have written the title the other way round given that Adult. were the headliners and are also legendary electrosynth types, Brooklyn duo Light Asylum are relatively new but they’re who I really came to see having forgotten how good Adult. were.  When I say Adult. are legendary what I really mean is they’ve been around since 1998 and were modestly famous in the early 2000s, but if you remember when the term ‘electroclash’ was used zealously by every music journalist and trendy scenester then you’ll undoubtedly remember the female/male, analog-loving, Detroit synthpunk duo. Nicola Kuperus’s electronically-altered vocals and the banging synth beats and bleeps of songs such as ‘Hand to Phone’ certainly bring back memories for me of dancing in grimy Leeds clubs ten years ago when I couldn’t leave the house without hearing Fischerspooner and Ladytron. But whilst the word ‘electroclash’ may have been an NME-coined buzzword, most of the bands that fell victim to such media manufactured categorisation had a lot more staying power than the word itself.
I was surprised how much of a joy it was to see Adult. play live. They’ve been steadily making albums all these years and whilst the old hits get everyone the most excited the whole gig is that rarest of anomalies in North East London - a dance party that’s actually fun. And what dance party at XOYO would be complete without slightly too much dry ice? My friend comments that it feels like swallowing washing up liquid but we dance undeterred. Adult. are very fond of darkness, Nichola constantly asks for there to be less light. Whilst she is extremely charismatic between songs and sounds overjoyed to be back in London after six years, she and the other Adult, Adam, erase their own image whilst they play, all you can make out are their blurry shapes through the darkness/strobe lights/dry ice mist, but that’s because they want you to enjoy their music not their faces.
It’s all about the duos tonight, something I approve of. Prior to Adult. I get into the venue just in time for the dark post punk dance sounds of Light Asylum. Shannon Funchess of the band is thrilling to watch, her stage presence full of energy as she beats her synth pad whilst singing with vocals that grip and shake you with their power and depth, the effect is entrancing. Shannon works the crowd, gets us singing along and shouts encouraging things at us. Beside her is silent, blank-faced, long-haired muscle-boy Bruno Coviello on synth.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the combination of the two of them. Yes, they are both super hot, but there also is some unspoken (literally) onstage connection which makes them look and sound like they were meant to be together. Light Asylum are probably best known for the atmospheric, mind-dominating song ‘Dark Allies’ which of course was spectacular but it’s the pop-synthed, horse-sampling ‘A Certain Person’ which was their final song and the highlight of highlights for me.

On a side note – I don’t really need to comment on the above videos but I will anyway. Light Asylum’s ‘Heart of Dust’ is epically ominous but Adult’s ‘Inside’ wins it for me on account of camp low budget splatter gore.

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