Marking twenty years since they formed in 1999, Metronomy have been touring their sixth studio album “Metronomy Forever” and came to Leeds on the 11th of November. The album was released in September earlier this year and is intended to be listened to in chronological order, like a journey and the live performance was no different.
The turquoise of the Leeds O2 Academy lights grazed the thousands of fans gathered, the sound of wedding bells reverberated around the room. Gently increasing in volume with layers of clinky synthesizers. The band are dressed in pristine white boiler suits, with white instruments to match. White was the right choice as it gave a retro 80’s electro-pop/synth-wave/out of space vibe and the projections were present on their outfits.
They opened with “Lately,” the first single to be released off the album. A thumping bass drum, intertwined with a twinkly arpeggiating synth. The lead guitar tone was definitely inspired by Jimi Hendrix, met by cascades of thick blue and purple smoke rising through the air. Anna Prior came through by providing smooth backing vocals accompanied by a drum displaying “Anna forever” in the “Metronomy forever” font/style.
When they played “Corrine” (which is the song that introduced me to the band) I was sent back in time to when I was 14, huge nostalgia, with vocoder backing vocals to add some spice. After this, they took the tempo down for “Resevoir” with drum machine and Anna on tambourine, with dreamy backing vocals from outer space, twisting melodies from both synths and Theremin. The piercing blue and white lights took over the show, shocking the nervous system.
Oscar Cash really brings a lot to the songs with his synth textures and I especially enjoyed their use of live percussion and Mount would take this over in the breakdowns, the power of a drum machine plus acoustic drums can never be undermined.Although the sound was very well balanced and of high quality, I couldn’t understand the lead vocals, which was a shame.
Towards the end of their set, Mount apologised for their failure to come to Leeds earlier in the year for Live at Leeds due to flooding of Stylus, but they’ve proved the occasion was worth the wait. The penultimate song was “The Look” and the crowd nearly blew the roof off by chanting melody before the song started. The band would freeze in positions under the strobe light which was very aesthetically pleasing…
The overall performance was well rehearsed, sporting tight harmonies but the band performed a very unconvincing ending with “Sex Emoji”, obviously hankering after an encore. They returned to the stage with “Radio Ladio” which was their breakthrough hit. The arena became saturated in red, yellow and orange smoke.
As much as I am obsessed with the album, I have a few criticisms; They lacked surprises and had endings which fizzled out rather than clear and strong. The performance was good but it was predictable and nothing I hadn’t seen before- but maybe that’s what they were going for…? They also had the opportunity to do a lot more visually (projections/ set/stage design) but decided not to.
Words by Chesca Henderson Cox