Thursday, September 18, 2014

White Hot Funk

I've written about the band Metronomy on this blog a couple of times before (here and here).  They're one of these bands that seem to improve with time as the ideas flow and their creativity and skill increases.  The second album was better reviewed than the first, and their third is the best reviewed so far.  I think it's rather good (it's called Love Letters by the way) and so when I heard they were coming to the 930 Club I knew it would be well worth checking them out.

Things started off at a bit of a low, as the sound was way too loud for my ears.  It seemed like the club's sound people noted that too though, and after the first couple of songs either my ears adjusted or the sound was lowered; either way, it was better, and clearer.  The place was about 60% full, which doesn't sound too great, but all it really meant was that the balcony was quite empty as most people filled the main floor to dance.  Yes, dance, cos Metronomy are pretty funky and they put on a good show too!  From matching white suits to a few synchronized moves here and there, they seem like a band who know they're in the entertainment business and don't mind embracing that too much, even if it may be in a somewhat ironic way.  I like that -- definitely prefer it to po-faced bands who want to pretend they're normal people who just happen to be in front of a paying crowd playing music.  It reminded me a bit of seeing Peter, Bjorn, and John at 930 a few years ago -- a really happy and joyous show that went on til it seemed they'd played their entire catalogue!  This wasn't as up there as that, possibly because of the smaller crowd, but the people who attended were definitely enjoying themselves and seemed to know Metronomy's songs well.  It was a diverse crowd too, especially for an act who could probably still be categorised as UK indie pretty easily.  Overall it was a good show -- highlights included three keyboards, the afore-mentioned white suits, on-stage dancing and funkiness, a singing female drummer, and the fact that main Metronomy man Joseph Mount reminds me a bit of Nick Frost.  I don't mean that in a bad way.  Bassist Olugbenga Adelekan (pictured above) really stood out to me too -- the basslines are really prominent in most Metronomy songs, but add to that his lively demeanour, cool look, and classic funky bass-player moves (how do they move their heads like that without getting a pain in the neck??).  He would've stolen the show if it weren't for the fact that almost all the other four members of the band were working it too.  I just found out that he also works solo, under his first name, so will definitely be checking out more of him.  I learned that dancing in Birkenstocks is bit tricky.  Oh, and the stage set-up -- they actually put some effort into that too.  Check out the live video below, it's pretty much what I saw last night, just on a different stage.  The Upsetter is one of my favourite tracks from Love Letters:

Couple of other quick things:  First off, it's weird how different the area around the 930 Club is now!  I haven't been to a show there in a while and the change is pretty astounding.  It used seem that 930 was the one place to go to in a pretty grotty (and dangerous-seeming) area of warehouses and surface parking lots.  But now all that's gone and it's being surrounded by new apartments/condos!  Literally!  There's one being built next door and one right across the street.  I'm not saying it's good or bad, but it'll definitely change the atmosphere around the club once the changes are complete.  I guess, for me, part of the appeal of going to a concert is also going to a part of town that I wouldn't normally go to.  That's probably because almost all of my concert experiences have been in slightly shitty areas!  Downtown Detroit and Pontiac in the late 90's, then DC in the early and mid-00's...  So in my mind, concerts are associated with the illicit thrill of being in a "bad" area. I suppose it doesn't have to be that way though.

Second, one of my earlier Metronomy posts is also about the rapper Oddisee.  There was a nice write-up about him, the trio he's a part of, Diamond District, and their new record, in last week's DC City Paper. It's a good long read so check it out.