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Metronomy – live review

Joseph Mount is not your average front man. Showboating and self-aggrandisement have always played second fiddle (not literally, keyboards are more Mount’s forte) to his understated yet powerful brand of laid-back stagecraft; and at Metronomy’s March 26 UEA date, there was no sudden script change. Strolling out casually onto the stage amidst his identically dressed bandmates, Mount takes his place at the foremost organ with a rather self-entitled flourish, and launches into the elaborate tinklings of the keyboard intro to ‘Monstrous’, the third track from their top ten album of 2014, Love Letters.

Metronomy in concert - Birmingham

Clad in a rather nautically themed uniform of blue roll neck, beige chinos and scarlet blazer, all topped off with a pair of cream deck shoes, the band play a hit-packed set to an equally full LCR on this wintry March evening, packed to the gunnels with a variety of different types of gig-goer; from your NME waving, scrawny rag-a-muffin to your now-balding, ex-80s, neon raver. All were equally enthralled.

After a flashy opener, the West Country indie-pop provocateurs jump into the equally dance-inducing ‘Month of Sundays’, another track from the band’s latest fourth record. This is where bassist, Gbenga Adelekan, shows his funky side, sashaying this way and that across the stage in a robotically hypnotic fashion that whips the crowd into a wild frenzy, all the while pounding out the lively baselines that provide the background for Mount’s crooning vocals.

Next up is recent single, “Love Letters”, a wonderful mish mash of late-seventies Supertramp and Beach Boys vocal harmonies, with some latino horn parts thrown in for good measure. Whilst no brass is on stage tonight, the group still produce a rousing rendition of their most radio friendly track from their fifteen year career, and an electrifying keyboard solo replaces the trumpet outro from the record.

Metronomy can do no wrong it seems, with every cymbal splash and every toe tap rapturously accepted by a teeming crowd, consumed with such freneticism and excitement that a moshpit emerges, so maniacal and all-consuming that the LCR dance-floor resembles more the atmosphere of the recent Kerrang! Tour show than an evening of the relaxed indie-electronica Metronomy are more often known for.

The following hour and a half see the band rattle through an almost seamless programme of crowd-pleasing tunes, taken from every one of their fifteen years in existence as an ensemble. The Mercury Prize nominated LP from 2011, The English Riviera, was the record that catapulted Metronomy into mainstream existence, and tracks from the album, ‘The Look’, ‘She Wants’, ‘Everything Goes My Way’, ‘Corinne’ and the incendiary, pre-encore closer ‘The Bay’, all receive the greatest reception from a well-enamoured audience.

Now with a back-catalogue expansive enough to fill a full-length headline set, this tour feels ever so slightly like a coming out party for the self-titled “wonky pop” merchants. Having scored their first top ten album after three previous attempts, the band have now been well and truly accepted by both the unrelenting scorn of the music press, the British youth, and the ‘still-cd-buying’ generations of parents and grand-parents; they truly are a band for all demographics.
After ‘The Bay’, the five exhausted musicians traipse off the stage only to return at the baying behest of the punters for a three-track encore, including a song each from their last three full length efforts, ‘Some Written’ (The English Riviera), ‘Heartbreaker’ (Nights Out) and ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’ (Love Letters), concluding a twenty-song set that both confounded expectations and increased the already extensive love Metronomy’s eclectic fan base has for their Devonian idols.
Metronomy are a band on the up, and as this gig has shown, they have now hit the big league. The only question is, can they keep it up?

29/04/2014

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