Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Metronomy - Alexandra Palace, London 05/12/14

08 December 2014, 11:30 | Written by Luke Cartledge

Seeing a band like Metronomy headline a venue as beautiful and cavernous as Alexandra Palace is the kind of experience to which it’s a little tricky to apply the normal values of critique. As a member of such an ecstatic audience, as a band who look as if they are having the time of their lives perform a joyous set of expertly crafted pop on an enormous stage, objectivity is far from easy to come by. Lucky, then, that Metronomy deliver a set that requires so little criticism, that is so thoroughly free of fault.

Everyone gathered inside this peerlessly spectacular venue seems barely able to contain their excitement as Joseph Mount and his band take to the stage (in stark contrast to the lukewarm reception to which support act Courtney Barnett is subject). Wearing matching suits and wide grins, the band waste no time lapping up the adoration of Ally Pally, promptly launching into a set that fizzes with vigour and confidence from the outset. The first few songs come thick and fast; the Northern soul bounce of “Love Letters” sounds enormous, as do the raucous “Radio Ladio” and the towering “I’m Aquarius”. Mount and bassist Olugbenga Adelekan, very much the band’s second frontman, share the modest amount of crowd interaction that follows this first section of the set, accepting the cheers of the audience gracefully rather than basking in them (as might be understandable).

Every feature of tonight’s set is so well thought-out, so perfectly executed, that it comes to feel like a little more than a gig. There are so many exquisite touches, so many nods to different musical and artistic genres, and so much enjoyment toothily apparent on the faces of each band member. It is these subtle additions that truly make the performance special. For example, during the breezy “Everything Goes My Way”, the variety show-style lightshow synchronises with the three-piece backing vocals, giving each singer a perfectly timed moment in the spotlight. It works beautifully, and is just one of countless visual elements that augment Metronomy’s magnetic stage presence; each member draws upon an impressive arsenal of dance moves throughout the set, looking at once carefully choreographed and effortlessly natural.

Musically, the band are just as impressive as they are visually. They’ve become an incredibly tight unit, Anna Prior’s drumming interlocking perfectly with the insistent syncopation of Mount’s songs. They really seem like a band now, rather than a live expansion of Mount’s bedroom productions. And they have so many hits; how many so called “indie” bands can compete with the dance-rock potential of the Metronomy back catalogue, boasting as it does the likes of “Heartbreaker”, “The Bay”, “My Heart Rate Rapid”, “She Wants” and “Corinne” (all of which are irresistible tonight)? One might expect them to trip over themselves a little when they stray from this side of their sound, but this is not the case this evening. “The Upsetter”, the haunting opener of Love Letters, is entrancing, and they even manage to pull off an Oscar Cash-led rendition of “Here Comes the Sun” without seeming cheesy or self-indulgent. As a band who thrive on producing intelligent, danceable pop music, and who never take themselves entirely seriously, Metronomy are completely on top of their game. A delight.

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