Metronomy at ABC, 19/3/14

Hmm, ok! Where does one start? Metronomy just off the back end of lyrical supremacy, with NME spurting their usual paid guff and staining the whites of said bands they are supposed to be reviewing… they’re on a leash; a sickening political leash, just like most of the major publications.

There is always a great colossal yay or nay when it comes to critical journalism, as nobody has the balls these days to express their actual words… and instead leave it to the incestual hearsay, fearing the views of the outside perspective will be all too radical.

There is an anticipatory build-up, pre-gig; slap-dash drink preparations and decisions to be made; bulk orders of drinks being bought at the bar and a general mish-mashed cacophony of verbal acclamations being made about the general excitement of tonight.

Metronomy is an “alright” band, they are far from fantastic and with all the critical acclaim having been lauded in their direction the past couple of years it’s perhaps the jadedness from so many of these outlets that offers a sense that tonight is going to be somewhat of a letdown.

Reading reviews that are so profoundly up their own arse – “they are on the verge of once again staking a claim for becoming everybody’s new favourite band with a fresh collection of lo-fi but heartfelt pop” – it’s not surprising that so many individuals are taking a back seat in the apple-polishing, shamelessly lachrymose, brown-nosing opines.

Just look what happens to many a band that have (in hindsight) been packaged and force-fed in a commodity driven – “you must like this band as they are bloody awesome” – pat-on-the-back arrogance; it’s boom then bust.

Some people like to think for themselves, and these are presumably individuals who avoid scheduled Saturday night terrestrial television.

The ABC is absolutely jam-packed and there are moments of surreal contemplation; with unanswerable questions running circularly, such as “have this band really merited the over-enthused reactions from crowd based on the performance of a few mediocre pop songs” – and “are we really watching the same band tonight?”

The first three tracks are all from 2014s Love Letters, which are consecutively played starting off with ‘Monstrous’, ‘Month of Sundays’ and finally ‘Love Letters’, each of them sounding rather flat without the crowd managing to notice, as the buzz has already consumed them of their own opinions of the gig – before the band even stepped onstage.

Fortunately, things pick up after the somewhat subdued first couple of tracks, which didn’t quite amount to anything indicative of the suggestive onstage chemistry.

Metronomy_O2 ABC_John Graham_Bassline Images_ 6

Tracks from The English Riviera fare much much better, including ‘This Town’, ‘The Bay’ and ‘Some Written’, with the band tightening things up onstage creating a sense of energy compounded with Joseph Mount’s slightly more vocal dominant tracks.

It is when these elements are combined that there is a more dense and full sound that does the job of filling the capaciously spaced venue.

Bass player Gbenga Adelekan is a stand out in the musician department, as is the case with numerous tracks, providing superb backing vocals.

Weak 80s sounding ‘She Wants’, is a standout track due to Adelekan’s protruding and thick chorused bass work.

The musicianship in general is great with the whole band seemingly masters of their craft.

For anybody could have known, elusive German electronic outfit Kraftwerk could have hijacked the stage, for the performance of ‘Boy Racer’, which has the potential for greatness if it weren’t so afraid of its own shadow – it fails to walk-the-walk or talk-the-talk, which is disappointing.

Tracks from Nights Out, pass the threshold of mediocrity including ‘Radio Ladio’ and ‘Hearbreaker’.

Unfortunately, the new tracks are totally eclipsed by the more structurally sound material on The English Riviera, but regardless, the crowd love every second; so in that sense, it is a success.

Walking away from a gig with a surging feeling of underwhelming discontent does not bode too well if there happens to be others with synonymous feelings, which certainly does not appear to be the case.

Until critics are stripped off of the political leash and aloud to roam free with a vestigial subjectiveness; then I guess it’s onwards and upwards for Metronomy.

More photos

Words: Derek Robertson
Photos: John Graham


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