Adult : Detroit Labyrinth

Didactic, poignant, and yes, brilliant...

Detroit isn’t usually a place for waiting in lines. Well, maybe at the post office. But after a rash of hot international press, you may find that getting into an Adult. performance is a little harder these days. It certainly is tonight as a line snakes its way around the Labyrinth, a bona fide goth club that’s hardly known for technotic collisions, save the odd Throbbing Gristle tune.

And it’s in that Genesis P-Orridge-informed style that Adam Lee Miller and Nicola Kuperus take the stage, looking almost militant in their black suits and arm patches. They immediately launch into ‘(Love Sick) Minors At Nite’ and ‘Nausea’ with Kuperus letting forth banshee-like wails and Miller filtering his normally soft-spoken voice through a dirty vocoder. But it’s the hard analog thumps of the Moroder-esque ‘Hand To Phone’ and ‘Lost Love’ that blow the robots’ circuits, sending the crowd into a frenzy. They’re out in large numbers tonight, mixing ravers, tech-headz, indie rockers, and gothy vamps – par for the course for an Adult. show.

The husband and wife duo take on a much different persona onstage than they do on record. Kuperus ventures way out of her rather contrived, processed shell. She’s hardly as stiff tonight as her cover-gracing photographs might suggest. Miller, in thick rim specs and floppy pompadour, tempers his squeals with intense stoicism. In fact, he hardly looks up from his Macintosh other than to have an occasional drag off his cigarette. Behind them hangs an Adult. banner, as if to ironically mock themselves with some sort of identification card. To be sure, it maintains the band’s minimal aesthetic and sharp attention to design. Adult. prove to be an expressive map of cultural references, taking the good with the bad, the ugly with the sick, and making it all quite daring and original – a critical theorist’s field day.

Impressively, Adult. manage to blend their entire 9-song set seamlessly, never yielding to the fervent applause as it spews from the sweltering crowd. They tie off their performance with the new ‘Nite Life’, a warning of the dangers of carefree clubbing. Didactic, poignant, and yes, brilliant.

Ken Taylor