Back in 2006, when Metronomy released their debut album Pip Paine (Pay the £5000 You Owe), it’s unlikely that anyone would have expected them to sell out venues like London’s 10,000 capacity Alexandra Palace or headline The Park stage at the legendary Glastonbury Festival. However, 8 years later and they’ve done both these things thanks to the likes of successful albums The English Riviera and Love Letters, the latter of which surfaced in March to critical acclaim. It saw Metronomy go old-school and incorporate elements of funk and disco into their eclectic sounds. As 2014 comes to a close, the Joe Mount-fronted quartet is taking Love Letters on the road through Europe one last time. Joining them on tour is London indie-pop quartet Teleman, with tonight’s show taking place at the TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht. Read on for a full live review.
Although the Ronda room in the TivoliVredenburg can hold up to 2,000 people, tonight’s show was far from sold out. This was already evident when merely half the room was filled by the time Teleman finished their 30-minute set, which comprised of simple indie-pop which did a good job in emulating the likes of Two Door Cinema Club and Bombay Bicycle Club, albeit with an extra electronic layer to it. Consisting of three former members of the now-defunct Pete & the Pirates and one added percussionist, the Thomas Sanders-fronted quartet calmly powered through debut album cuts Steam Train Girl, 23 Floors Up and the slightly repetitive set closer Not in Control. It’s all rather generic stuff, although Sanders’ voice has a unique tone to it which gives the songs a nice edge. We spoke to Sanders and his extremely reluctant bassist Pete Cattermoul after the show, with the interview available from www.allthingsloud.com/interviews soon.
Metronomy took to the stage some 30 minutes later to a Ronda which seemed to only just be half-full, with frontman Joe Mount and his band all dressed in matching white suits and drummer Anna Prior wearing a white dress. It all comes across very chic and fancy, which is a really nice touch to a stage show that already features vintage-looking synthesizers and dreamy clouds placed at the rear of the stage. Opening with older cut Holiday, the band danced their way through the track before seguing straight into Radio Ladio, another equally danceable track from 2008’s Nights Out. Bassist Gabe Adelekan danced energetically across stage as the whole band joined in to shout the track title over a mix of jangly guitars and waspy synths which were unpinned by pulsating bass and drums. Love Letters followed with arpegiating synths and a catchy refrain as old-school chord progressions and a warped synth-cum-trumpet solo got everyone dancing, in particular keyboardist Oscar Cash, who chose to dance around stage with a tambourine. Once this opening salvo of powerful songs was done, Mount introduced himself awkwardly as they kicked into Everything Goes My Way, lifted from 2011’s The English Riviera. Doo-wop harmonies and lovelorn lyrics intertwined with serene acoustics as Mount and drummer Anna Prior shared vocal duties. The Look, arguably their biggest hit, followed much to the delight of the crowd as everyone sang along to its downbeat maritime-synth melody line. Its organ solo saw a big glitter ball descend from the ceiling as the whole room lit up in near-disco delight. Compared to the last time we wrote about Metronomy (at Glastonbury Festival this summer), the crowd tonight was very much a disappointment save for a select few fans in the middle of the crowd.
The clicking electronic beats of I’m Aquarius saw Adelekan and Prior join Cash and live keyboardist Michael Lovett behind the keyboards as they danced in sync to the beat. Metronomy always add little things to their show which you might not notice on first glance but make you quite happy once you notice them, such as the in sync dance moves. The bouncy melody of Reservoir proceeded to garner positive reactions from the crowd as its electronic percussion and Mount’s harbour-themed lyrics intertwined nicely with swirling arpeggios. The English Riviera’s She Wants saw Mount sing in a demure tone as he wailed his way through its chorus of “I’ll call the shots, till you wake up / count every second on every clock”, accompanied by sharp guitar jabs and fluffy synths. Afterwards, the whole band except for Mount left the stage as the frizzy-haired frontman played an acoustic version of Love Letters’ album closer Never Wanted, one of the most emotional songs on the album. “But it gets better” he sang over the sounds of his guitar, before his band re-joined him for the closing part of the song. Nights Out’s Side 2 picked the pace up again with grooving synths and more absurd guitar jangles before A Thing for Me got everyone dancing again. Its acapella intro of “I told you how long we’ve got, all the time in the world” and warped synth lines mixed well with added bass from Adelekan and Mount’s vocals.
As the show was already well over its halfway point, a demure The Upsetter and a cover of The Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun made way for the upbeat Heartbreaker and the instrumental Boy Racers, the latter of which saw Mount leave the stage as his band pounded through Boy Racers’ squidgy synths with immense energy. Mount re-joined them for Old School and Month of Sundays, the latter of which was a slow-burning love song which spiralled into a twangy solo and repeated chant of “Never in the Month of Sundays”. Penultimate main set track The Bay made for the most upbeat moment of the evening as the whole crowd responded immensely well to its funky bassline and massive chorus. The elevator music of Some Written closed the main set, starting with the band all sitting onstage as Mount played his keyboard, before they each joined him on their instruments. As they left for the encore, the crowd was pleading for more and got that in the shape of a 2-song encore. Encore opener Love Underlined encompasses an extremely rhythmic backing rhythm which spiralled into an electro dance anthem, before the set closed on a very frantic note courtesy of early track You Could Easily Have Me. It’s the most un-Metronomy Metronomy song ever, with distorted guitars and crazy rhythms intertwining as Mount & co. rocked their way through the track with sheer precision and utter madness. As the strobe lights flickered at lightning speed during the demented synths, it all finally came to an end and Metronomy left the stage to rapturous applause.
Although the crowd was far too sparse and unenergetic, Metronomy showed everyone that they know how to party in style and pull of a fantastic live performance. The small crowd didn’t deter them from dancing and interacting well with the crowd, Mount in particular. He’s like a mad professor with razor sharp wit and a great sense of humour. He’s like the crazy uncle every family needs, that’s how fun a frontman he is. Metronomy are already destined for greatness in the UK, so all we can do is hope that they’ll be playing stages next time around.