This is how you close out a festival
As the act responsible for providing the prevailing impression of the entire festival, the choice of Sunday night headliner matters. Previous line-ups have seen End of the Road select Feist, The Jesus and Mary Chain and Joanna Newsom for the job, who respectively repaid their faith by hypnotising punters with space-folk/noise-rock/harp-led baroque pop. This year, the organisers changed tack entirely by booking Britain’s best party band to send punters home on a high.
Despite facing stiff competition from Jarvis Cocker over in the Garden, Metronomy pulled a huge crowd to The Woods stage, though, in truth, the two acts have more in common than initially meets the eye. For starters, Jarvis definitely doesn’t have the monopoly on droll between-song chat. Opening their first End of the Road performance in 14 years with instrumental track ‘Boy Racers’, each member of the band takes turns sharing their name, Zodiac sign and favourite pastime, with keyboardist (and Gemini) Oscar Cash’s admission of enjoying “partying on Sunday nights” eliciting the biggest cheers. Later, frontman Joe Mount (Virgo) will lecture the audience on the perils of borrowing bread knives.
Then there’s the Us vs Them aura that Metronomy exude – much like original mis-shapes Pulp – and at End Of The Road it’s visually represented by a band uniform of powder blue and white. Mostly it’s the songs that draw the sharpest comparison to those of Cocker’s alma mater, possessing the same off-kilter melodicism that equates to indie-disco dynamite.
From the very start, Metronomy don’t hold back on the hits, moving mercilessly from breakout track ‘Heartbreaker’ into an ecstatically-received, English Riviera triumvirate of ‘The Bay’, ‘She Wants’ and ‘Everything Goes My Way’. ‘Old Skool’ is another highlight, the digital funk of the Summer ‘08 single turbo-charged live with cowbell and throbbing bass. But much more impressive is the fact that as-yet unreleased material receives almost as effusive a reception as ‘Reservoir’ and the rest.
Taken from forthcoming LP Metronomy Forever, and introduced by Mount as “good for dancing to, to keep warm”, ‘Whitsand Bay’ is buoyant. So too is ‘Insecurity’, with its cheeky update on ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’s’ riff, and there’s a killer performance of lead single ‘Lately’, which surely ranks up there with Mount’s finest moments to date. For the encore, they circle back to where it all began, dispatching the demented digi-punk of ‘You Could Easily Have Me’ from their 2006 debut Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe). Muttering a quick, “Get home safe,” Mount and co depart the stage, leaving fans dancing into the night.
Photography: Burak Cingi
Metronomy, Woods Stage @ End of the Road, Sunday 1 September
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