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Concert review: Metronomy externalizes its internal rhythm in Next@Wex show

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Joseph Mount, lead guitarist and singer of Metronomy, performs at Sept. 14 at the Wexner Center for the Arts. The concert was part of the center's "Next@Wex" series.  Credit: Yann Schreiber / Lantern reporter

Joseph Mount, lead guitarist and singer of Metronomy, performs on Sept. 14 at the Wexner Center for the Arts. The concert was part of the center’s Next@Wex series.
Credit: Yann Schreiber / Lantern reporter

Hipsters, young and old — but mostly young — gathered at the Wexner Center for the Arts on Sunday night to watch Metronomy, an English electropop band, perform.

The band, wearing all white with red accents, quickly marched onto the stage where the members’ matching white instruments laid — two electronic keyboards, multiple guitars (electric and acoustic), a drum set and the occasional African drum and tambourine.

The crowd barely had time to get on their feet before Metronomy began its first song.

The first piece concentrated on intricate harmonies and strong percussion, but the instrumentals slowly increased as the song went on, washing out the vocals and stealing the spotlight.

But Metronomy always kept the crowd on its feet with its unpredictable playlist and almost too-quick transitions. Switching between upbeat songs and ballads, instrumental songs and vocal-focused songs, the music always reverberated with energy. It was impossible not to dance, and, everywhere, people were bouncing, swaying and bobbing their heads.

The multi-talented band members switched between a variety of instruments, exhibiting intense skill with every song they performed.

Their vocals were just as sophisticated. The male members never shied away from high notes and often sang higher than Anna Prior — the group’s sole female. The quartet — which also includes musicians Joseph Mount, Oscar Cash and Olugbenga Adelekan — loved to focus its songs on complex harmonies. Sometimes it worked, but other times it was almost too complex for the band’s own good, making me and my musical ear cringe.

There isn’t one word that describes Metronomy’s music. This alternative band draws sounds from ’70s/’80s funk, ambient electro and techno and the occasional rock ‘n’ roll chord — all with an indie twist. While some might see it to be an identity crisis, Metronomy somehow pulls it off.

One thing is clear: Metronomy is focused on entertaining its audience. Whether or not they were playing their instruments, the band members were always submersed in their music and dancing.

Cash, the keyboard player, would “magically” change the lights with each chord he played, waving his hand at the ceiling with a mysterious look on his face. Every few songs, Mount — the founder and lead guitarist — would converse and connect with the crowd, telling us everything from his pleasurable experience at Ohio Craft Brew Fest to his usual tricks to get the audience asking for an encore.

And every now and then, the lights would come on in the crowd, connecting everyone in the room not to a performance, but pure enjoyment of the music.

With voices that blend seamlessly — sometimes sounding like one, powerful voice — Metronomy is so in sync you would think they are listening to the same internal metronome.

 

Correction: A prior version of this story incorrectly referred the Ohio Craft Brew Fest as Columbus’s Brew Festival.

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