Photographs by Sarah Rix.
The opening of Metronomy’s Hoxton gig was like catching a storm’s first drop of rain. One moment the air was still, then the next, heavy with a deluge of sound. Slick sexy bass, hip swinging synths and a lightning fast bongo beat flashed in to light the room, giving a glimpse of the band in action. Draped in dapper white blazers, Metronomy flooded the room with a funky kind of class. It was impossible to not soak it up immediately.
Once they started moving, they didn’t stop. Grooving along to their own beat, they strode the stage with an easy confidence. Not content to stay put, instruments were swapped and changed with seamless skill. Lead singer Joseph Mount repeatedly moved between bongos, guitar, electric piano, even handing over lead vocals to the rest of the band with regularity. Everyone in the band jumped on the mic, if not for lead, then for harmonious back-up. Funny, considering that the only album of theirs I’d heard was 2006’s Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe), a virtually instrumental record.
Not content to merely shift across the stage, stylistically their multi-instrumentation helped them transcend genre to find the funky chewable tootsie roll centre in every song. From drummer Anna Prior’s sultry vocals, flamenco inspired guitar (and enough cowbell to cure any fever) of Everything Goes My Way, to the minimalist synth hum and doo wop vocals of I’m Aquarius. The contrast of Joseph’s lovelorn falsetto vocals with ambient droning synths and delicate guitar plucking created an intricate juxtaposition on The Upsetter, while instrumental track Boy Racers evoked equal parts Ratatat, Sly & the Family Stone and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
“This next one is from the year 2006” announced Joseph. “Does anyone remember 2006?” If the all ages crowd had been too young at the time, they certainly didn’t miss a beat. Crashing cymbals, jangly rock guitar and whirring electric piano heralded Pip Paine opener You Could Easily Have Me. The audience lapped it up. The floor was a maelstrom of movement as the song hit its zenith, bodies bouncing and gyrating to the infectious flow. An easy highlight of the set, the energy arced through the room as the crowd lost themselves to the sound. Then as suddenly as they’d commenced, everything cut to black. If there was a moment the band knew they’d conquered, it was found in the deafening cheers from the darkness.