Live Review: Metronomy @ Rock City

The Mic were lucky enough to witness multi-instrumentalist Joseph Mount's project Metronomy at Rock City, who delivered a masterclass in genre-jumping and crowd pleasing.

If there’s one thing last Friday proved, it’s that Metronomy hold a special place in the hearts of a considerable number of Nottingham gig goers. Their particular brand of off-kilter synth-pop has been around since the late 2000s, when new rave was still a viable prospect for the future direction of indie, and their sound has undergone no shortage of changes since. They’ve dallied with yacht rock, disco-inspired funk and finally a mix of all of the above on their new album, Metronomy Forever. It seems to be that they’ve decided to simply relax and make the kind of Metronomy album they’ve always wanted to, free from considerations of how it will be received. Well, I say ‘they’ – in the studio, Metronomy is just one man, Joseph Mount. Live, however, they’re a full band, with Mount merely frontman to a colourful backing ensemble. More on that later however, as the night began with a set from Girl Ray.

Image courtesy of Michele Yon.

Slightly late, I entered the room to the twinkling keyboards of the single Girl from their upcoming sophomore record. A trio from North London, Poppy, Sophie and Iris make captivating, fun guitar pop. Rock City lapped it up, with the gleeful energy emanating from the stage proving a match for even the most uninterested of patrons. All dressed in matching merchandise, they infected their set with a naïve-feeling, sunny vitality that was nigh-on impossible not to dance to. Reminiscent of Metronomy at their most accessible, they set the stage for Mount and Co. to re-educate us in the ways of modern pop.

Metronomy entered the stage to Wedding, a track from their latest album, and then quickly launched into lead single Lately; pulsating drums, ethereal synths, and we were away. Clad all in

white jumpsuits, the band looked nearly magisterial. As Joe chugged away on a pearly

white Stratocaster that matched his jumpsuit, any misgivings about a potentially thin live

sound were quickly dispelled. The reaction from the crowd was that of rapture, despite this

track having only been out for a matter of months. Bassist Olugbenga Adelekan was the

perfect conductor, pulling the crowd into a clap that pushed the energy ever higher. And this

was only minutes in. They followed up with The Bay, a firm fan favourite that elicited

serenades of ‘feels so good’ from all corners of the room. By this point, Mount seemed

to have visibly relaxed, knowing the crowd resided firmly in the palm of his hand. They launched into another track from the new album, Wedding Bells, then followed it with Corinne

the introduction of which sent a ripple of excitement through the crowd.

'It seems to be that they’ve decided to simply relax and make the kind of Metronomy album they’ve always wanted to, free from considerations of how it will be received'.

What is remarkable is how well material from their entire discography sat together.

Genuine indie anthems such as The Look quite comfortably resided beside experimental

synth odysseys such as Lying Low. Speaking of which, the decidedly electronic middle

section of the set list culminated in most of the band leaving the stage, with just

keyboardists Oscar Cash and Michael Lovett facing one another, performing the deep cut

from the new album. Then, they began to slide towards each other on a set-up

reminiscent of Kraftwerk. In the hands of lesser performers, the whole affair could slip very

easily into the realm of camp, and yet Metronomy carried it off with aplomb, just another part

of their tongue in cheek approach to music.

When Metronomy deployed The Look – far and away their most commercially successful

track – an hour into their set, many in the audience took it as the end of the main set. However, they decided not to finish on this, but instead the riveting one-two punch of Love Letters and Sex Emoji; two lesser-known tracks that demonstrate Metronomy’s ability to take risks in any avenue of their work. The move worked out stunningly, with the frankly anthemic Love Letters resulting in a mass singalong, and Sex Emoji cementing itself as a future classic.

'What is remarkable is how well material from their entire discography sat together'.

Metronomy then returned for an encore that began with Mount alone with an acoustic guitar for Upset My Girlfriend; a ballad that really ought not to work, on the basis of its ostensible simplicity, and yet hits all the right notes. Never ones to leave the audience wanting, Metronomy left the stage after early career highlight Radio Ladio, a frantic mess of dancefloor-ready grooves. Exhilarating, nuanced pop from a band that are nothing short of a delight.