Initially born out of a desire to escape lockdown monotony, Leeds based six piece Adult DVD only have a handful of live shows under their belt, including a recent slot at cult favourite London venue Old Blue Last. The group are long serving members of the local indie circuit, each involved in their own respective projects, so it felt only fitting that their first headline gig as a fully formed band took place in city centre favourite, Headrow House.
Though it was what initially felt like a more subdued evening in town, the atmosphere soon began to shift as the first support George Legrand, coincidentally also Adult DVD’s bassist, marched onto stage accompanied by a fanfare backing track, armed with a can and a fur coat. In one of his first appearances in eighteen months, he took to the stage with a bold, but self-contained, conviction and composure. Still relatively early in the night, George’s presence, somehow at once laid back musician and ostentatious showman, was not lost on the intimate crowd, instantly waking up those still lurking by the bar. Sonically, he sat somewhere between synth-pop and new wave, with relaxed musings on life and catchy hooks. I was reminded vaguely of the DIY scene that birthed Jimothy Lacoste- if Jimothy Lacoste listened to music made in the eighties and drank Stella. Followed by Bradford indie-pop outfit MASI MASI, the night championed the inimitable nature of the current West Yorkshire circuit.
By the time Adult DVD began to play, the crowd had lost all remnants of uptight, Monday blues. Infectiously danceable synths and a compelling energy on stage made it hard to resist their charm as they tore through their brief but well rounded set. It’s hard to believe that this is their first headline slot, even harder when considering the small number of live gigs they’ve played in total. Despite their extensive equipment taking up a large portion of the admittedly small stage, each move felt intentional and polished. The band emitted an unarrogant confidence and playful charisma as they seamlessly blended tracks laden with warped guitars into driving, powerful electronica. Mid set, LCD Soundsystem-esque track ‘FOMO’ was a particular highlight. Drenched in dazzling synths that eventually lead us toward a potent bassline, those familiar with the band joined in with lead singer Harry Hanson’s life affirming chants of ‘do what you wanna do’. ‘Broken English’ relegated this electro-pop feel to more of a permeating background presence, opting to triumph contorting bass and guitar riffs to nurture the track’s vibrant energy.
The band closed with a frustratingly as-yet-unnamed, unreleased track, undoubtedly the favourite of the night. Despite most never hearing it before, the swampy acid infused banger thrusted the crowd into hedonistic elation. The perfect finisher, it showcased exactly where the band are headed, already assuredly far beyond the danger of becoming another run of the mill indie guitar band. Adult DVD offer something genuinely exciting to the local Leeds scene and beyond, and are definitely worth checking out wherever you can.
Words by Alice Browne
Photo: Jim Mumby