Saturday, May 18, 2024

Metronomy + Virginia Wing, The Institute, Birmingham 21/03/14

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Seeing Metronomy sounds like a good way to spend a Friday night. They’re one of those must see bands with their chilled, electronic tunes that are made to be played live. Last year the big question was where they’d disappeared to but now a couple of months after their return we’ve already been given a top 10 album with Love Letters and an extensive UK tour. 2014 will be the year for Metronomy.
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Virginia Wing
Beginning the evening were Virginia Wing who had the unenvious job of being the only support. They’re the sort of band it’s easy to see why people may not take a liking to as it’s so unconventional. Their set was minimal yet eccentric at the same time due to the psych-tinged tracks and distinct almost folk vocals.
As the lights dimmed, five figures suited up in matching burgundy jackets, dark shirts and white slacks walked to their brightly lit instruments causing the crowd to erupt. The whole set up seemed in tune with their earlier records thanks to the retro appearance but the Love Letters art deco backdrop soon reminded everyone why Metronomy were back.
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Starting things off slow with ‘Monstrous’, the crowd were at first reluctant to join in with the dancing of keys player Oscar Cash but with ‘Month of Sundays’ and ‘Love Letters’ following, those who’d got themselves familiar with the new album were soon chanting along.
Thanks to Barclays everyone knew the next track on the setlist; the whole venue erupted into a sea of dancing bodies as soon as the sun-kissed intro of ‘The Look’ sounded out. The playful synths and glitzy keyboard carried on later in the setlist with old hits ‘Holiday’ and ‘Radio Ladio’ which all proved the ones to make the crowd to get involved.
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Heading ‘Boy Racers’ was the coolest guy you will ever see on stage. Bassist Gbenga Adelekan provided the inspiration for the crowd to move along with the instrumental track while executing his arduous bass riffs with ease which took over from the bizarre sounds and repetitive drum beats. Once again Joseph Mount left his frontman position but this time for drummer Anna Prior who soon got the whole crowd falling in love with her tender, soothing vocals in ‘Everything Goes My Way’. Everything changed again with the first single from Love Letters, ‘I’m Aquarius’ which everyone besides Mount moved to beside Cash to join in with the crowds screams of “shoop doop doop ahh.”
Ending the main set was the universal favourite ‘The Bay’ which provided the crowd everything they came for; big hits and big dance numbers. The front of the crowd even turned into a mini pit while the rest danced along and joined in with all vocals and instruments whenever possible.
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As soon as Metronomy left the stage there were shouts and stamping of feet for their return. Jazzy track ‘Some Written’ opened the encore which mellowed the mood slightly but not long after the intro, the whole venue joined in with imitating Cash on the keyboard and singing along with the heartfelt vocals. The bass centred ‘Heartbreaker’ followed, once again showing off Adelekan’s smoothness while performing. Then it was time for the closer which surprisingly was ‘The Most Immaculate Haircut’. You wouldn’t expect it to work but the dedication to everyone’s good haircuts went down well as the reaction was for the whole crowd to have one last sing along with Mount.
Photographs by Paul Reynolds