It felt, a few years back, like Jo and I were at the Brixton Academy every month. But last night’s Metronomy gig was our first visit to the famous venue since a Richard Hawley gig about a year and a half ago. Standing on the slope, looking down towards the stage, I felt very happy to be back. It was almost as exciting as the prospect of another Metronomy show- almost I said. That happiness lasted as long as it took for the show to begin and three lads (and an iPhoned up lass) to come and stand in front of us and chat their way through the opening section of the show.
I know she had an iPhone because she was getting it out every five seconds to snap her gormless friends.
The Metronomy men; Joseph Mount, Oscar Cash, bassist Olugbenga Adelekan and a guitarist/keyboard player whose name escapes me now were resplendent in purple lounge type jackets and cream slacks. And they opened the show with Monstrous. Not that most of the people around me would know that as they stood, chatting to each other, taking photos of each other. It wasn’t that I couldn’t hear the band, it was that they were being drowned in a sea of London indifference. Even the Love influenced Month of Sundays couldn’t totally turn the tide back, despite the Adelekan’s exhortations to those of us who were paying attention.
Love Letters call and response stylings were a bit lost so early on in the gig, but Mount got everyone’s attention- and one of the biggest cheers of the night- as the opening doo-do-do-do-do bars of The Look filled the Academy. Lift off? Not quite. Annoyingly, the slow groove of She Wants (one of my favourite songs on The English Riviera) saw everyone return to their conversations.
At that point, Mount strolled off stage and I genuinely wondered for a moment if he was coming back. Adelekan led the rest of the band through the new instrumental, Boy Racers. I like this, a lot, but couldn’t help feeling that people were getting into the wrong songs. I know, who died and made me president of the listening committee?
However, we were on an upward swing now as a couple of cuts from Nights Out were unfurled, first Holiday and then Radio Ladio. Even the chatters around me got into Radio Ladio. But then, how could you not, “What’s your name? What’s your name? What’s your name” etc… Everything Goes My Way is still as beautiful as it was back in 2011. I found myself wondering how someone can say “I love this song!” every five minutes and then chat through the very song they’ve just said they love. I also found myself wondering how Anna Prior- who basically ends up singing the lead vocal on that song- can sing and drum at the same time and make it look so easy. Practice, dear boy, practice…
She had clearly earned a break from drumming duties after that though. She downed sticks and joined Oscar Cash at his keyboard stage left, whilst Adelekan joined the, er… other guy at the keyboard stage right. They shoop doo doo ahhhhed their way through the brilliant single I’m Aquarius. As Mount, standing at the mike, wove his tale of love gone wrong, “You said our love was written in the stars, but I never checked my charts”, it gave the whole thing a lounge act gone wrong vibe. Lest you misunderstand me, this was a good thing.
If the classical rave stylings, complete with appropriate lasers, of Reservoir didn’t convince the crowd that the band hadn’t gone totally lounge on us, then the electro punk Corinne surely would have. And then, The Upsetter saw Mount stripping things back again- the guitarist whose name I’ve forgotten sitting down to strum along to another of Mount’s tales of woe. Oscar Cash was given his moment in the sun then as he came to the front of stage to sing a song, the chorus of which appeared to be “My desire is your naked body”. Apparently, it’s called Naked Smile. He sang it well, I have to say. By now, the crowd was totally with the band and the main set closed with a euphoric rendition of The Bay.
The encore began with Mount reappearing with a cheery wave from behind one of the pink clouds that were part of the stage and beginning Some Written on his own. Gradually the band all reappeared in similar fashion, before joining in with the song. Except Prior, she blew us all a kiss. As with the Cash cameo at front of stage, this reintroduction highlighted something I’ve really enjoyed about the Metronomy gigs I’ve seen- they have a bit of wit about them. It’s not just about coming out, playing the songs and fucking off back where they came from- they want to give you something different, something to remember. Heartbreaker had everyone singing along before the show closed with The Most Immaculate Haircut. There’s something about the way Mount sings
“I get this feeling in my bones sometimes/its like my legs might fall away/a shooting pain runs down my left hand side and I/I think of you/ oh hush now”
that really gets me. It’s gotten me ever since I first heard The Most Immaculate Haircut a couple of weeks ago, there’s something so desperate, yet soothing about it. It was an appropriately beautiful note to finish this gig on. It was a gig to highlight just how far this band has come since the Royal Albert Show in 2011.
I look forward to seeing them again soon, although perhaps not at the Brixton Academy.