Adult DVD

The Jacaranda Club, Liverpool, 18 February 2022

Words and Photos by Gary Lambert

The standard entry fee for a basement venue gig of £5 is always value for money.  Even if the bands are rough around the edges, still trying to figure out how they want to sound, or genuinely not ready to perform in front of a paying audience, you’re still getting a good memory and several hours entertainment for the price of a pint.  Then every so often you come across a night that is WTF levels of brilliance which makes your fiver feel insignificant in comparison to the enjoyment and artistic delight you have just experienced.  These are the nights that make the effort of turning up to watch all manner of bands in every venue your city might hold worthwhile.  Nights that you cannot wait to talk to people about, to send people links to tracks you’ve heard.  Nights like this on down in the basement of the legendary Jacaranda Club as Adult DVD came to town.

I’d followed Teal on social media before tonight, but I hadn’t seem them perform.  The three-piece were obviously a band of talented players who had so much comfort on stage with each other.  That their drummer had only had a handful of sessions with them to rehearse for the show was ridiculous.  With a gentle, caring vocal supported by an acoustic guitar Teal could have easily sounded twee and mundane, instead the songs felt intimate as though you were being whispered secrets, and the complexities added to the sound by drums and electric guitar gripped attention.  Although they aren’t the easiest band to find on Spotify with at least twelve acts called Teal appearing when I searched later on…

Bands that are difficult to find on social and music media were definitely a theme for the night.  Second act up was Cow.  This is a band who I could listen to all day long and not get bored as they altered and twisted their style constantly without making any out of character turns.  One moment I was thinking about the sweet sounds of sixties psychedelia (think Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake and The Village Green Preservation Society), and the next I was given a Proustian push towards the last twelve months of Britpop.

There was no oi-ness or trumpets or hints of Cool Britannia I hasten to add. Just a feeling of late summer in the mix of jangling guitar play with the punch of a whoosh, like The Verve without strings or Suede without a penchant for a Bowie pastiche. Their sound has everything to appeal to a wide audience, from the artisan approach and carefully cultivated layered sound beloved by older audiences, to the vigour and pulse searched for by younger crowds.

The headline act were Leeds’ Adult DVD completing the hattrick of difficult to find bands.  With a hell of a lot more instruments on stage than their six band members, it looked like it was going to be a complicated sound. And for sure it was, and it was glorious!  With kinetic beats, crescendos and drops that wouldn’t be out of place at a techno night, the unassuming lads on the tiny, packed stage electrified the room.  The band even decided to drop the slow number in their setlist in order to keep the momentum building.  It was the right decision.

It’s a difficult job for a band with so many synthesisers on stage to create a connection with the audience in a small venue.  All too many times, the synths are lined up side-by-side and create a wall between the performers and the audience which leaves each side feeling a little flat.  Adult DVD combatted this by turning singer Harry’s desk side on, opening him (and therefore the band) to the audience.  He didn’t need to go wild in the tight confines, the music did that for them.

“This is our last song, it doesn’t have a name, but it’s a banger”, said with such simple self-assurance and confidence I couldn’t help but smile.  And Adult DVD were right!  Oh they were right!  Purely instrumental, whirling and hypnotic, it was like hearing Chemical Brothers play The Private Psychedelic Reel for the first time.  I was entranced and elated, lifted and breathless.

You can’t fit a lot of people in the basement of The Jac, but it didn’t matter.  This set felt massive – and audiences are going to find Adult DVD.  The way they sound already has me thinking that they’ll produce crowd pleasing sets at festivals like Bluedot, End of the Road and Green Man.  I can’t wait for their next tour, and I won’t be upset if it costs more than a fiver.

In order to help you find these artists, here are their Instagram accounts; and I’ve put together a short playlist of their tracks so you can find them on Spotify too.  

Adult DVD: @adultdvdmenu
Cow: @cowtheband
Teal: @tealband_

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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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