Friday, 6 May 2011

Metronomy @ The Hop

April 22nd
The Hop, Wakefield

Up on the seldom seen (or used) roof terrace of The Hop, Metronomy sit in the baking April sun - the hottest April on record in a very many years. Their new album, The English Riviera is inspired not by Ibiza or such scorching holiday destinations, but by the British Seaside and tonight it feels as if Metronomy have brought that feeling with them; not just the sun and the temperature, but the relaxed and homely atomosphere too.

An optimism and sense of excitement rests over the collection of gig goers out in the courtyard as they wait. I bet a lot of them would be happy to stay out here all night, such is the relief that the spell of good whether wasn’t a fluke, it’s a full on April summer. Marc Riley is around, having made his way over from Manchester after praising and playing the band on 6Music almost non stop for months now. As they all make their way upstairs, the temperature increases yet more; it’s a sell out show… and this is before the dancing starts…

I haven’t seen, or really heard Metronomy since their self titled debut album when the band were more a two piece, creating music closer to IDM, almost exclusively instrumental. I enjoyed it, yes, the quirks and charm of their take on that particular genre were clever and engaging. But they just slipped off my radar. As such, I’ve got two records to catch up on tonight, but it’s the new songs I want to hear most, with The English Riviera receiving astonishing reviews across the board.

The band, now a four piece take to the stage to rapturous applause. The band kick straight into ‘We Broke Free’, the first track proper from the new album. It’s a different sound to what I expected and I feel rather foolish for having let them slip me by for all this time. It’s a sound that vaguely reminds me of a fair few things; early Bloc Party (or more accurately where Bloc Party should have gone after the first album) – also The Rapture and LCD Soundsystem. Pretty much all the songs feature vocals now and it’s just really fun. The band seem to be having a great time. The room is swaying. The trademark massive lights on their chests are there, synced up with the music and, it’s got to be said, the room seems pretty synced up with the band too.

The singles from the 2nd album I part recognised sounded revitalised and even better than I recalled; the live band set up – guitar, bass, drum plus some keyboard and occasional saxophone brings a lot more out of the songs. In particular set closer RADIO LADIO transcends the archness of the original and becomes a woozy, smart irresistible anthem.

It’s always a little suspicious when a band gets massive across the board praise, especially a band who you have heard so much about in the ‘in the know’ press – they must have sold out right? It is so pleasing to see Metronomy simply got better. They were good before; they just got better at being better.

Words: Dean Freeman
Photography: Joel Rowbottom -
(except setlist by RB)

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