Live Music + Gig Reviews

Junior Boys + Metronomy @ Indigo2, London

25 April 2008

The sub-venue of the O2 arena, Indigo2, has the style and ambience of a nightclub rather than a live music venue. Its hushed UV lighting and mirrored walls make it more akin to a set from Blade Runner than your usual spit and sawdust indie hovel.

It makes a refreshing change though and tonights bill of shiny retro-futuristic synthpop couldnt be more fitting for the equally shiny setting.

First up for tonights Eat Your Own Ears extravaganza are Prinzhorn Dance School. Kick drums ring out like gunshots as Tobin Prinz and Suzi Horn shout out over the simplistic lead/bass guitar. Their post-punk mishmash of Joy Division-styled, bass-heavy stomp-arounds proves likeable but not truly loveable. They hardly endear themselves when Prinz declares, “Keyboards are for cruise ships”, in a most anti-new rave fashion. Having alienated the rest of the bill, and perhaps some of the tiny but expanding audience, the keyboards are thankfully wheeled out.

Kelley Polar takes to the stage with his Gary Numan-esque, vocodored synthpop. His twinkly melodies collide with icy melancholy and the clever, breathed percussion of Chysanthemum proves particular memorable. At one point Polar pulls a violin out to accompany a hand-clapping eighties electro track to further exemplify his array of musical talents.

While you get the feeling the venue should be floating five feet off the ground making a low humming noise before blurring off through time and space, tonight it would definitely have warped off into the past rather than the future. Polars music spends so much time looking over its shoulder its in danger of walking into things. It is very well produced and smattered with hooks though and the audience seem to be largely impressed overall.

Somewhat more up to date, Junior Boys then ply the crowd with their melancholy electronica. Jeremy Greenspans songs also brandish their eighties influences proudly but alongside house, techno and Balearic references which add an extra edge. With his exemplary songwriting skills, the music does not consist of regurgitated clichs but has a modern meaning and purpose to it. Best-known tracks such as Like A Child and In The Morning raise roars of recognition from the crowd when theyre aired before Under The Sun forms the sets crescendo.

Although supposedly second on the bill, Metronomy headline. “Is everyone happy to be in the Millennium Dome?”, asks frontman Joseph Mount as he walks on stage, a question youd never have thought would have received such an enthusiastically positive response just a few short years ago. With trademark Teletubby chest-lights switched on full-beam, the trio launch into an up-tempo, high-energy rock/rave knees up which gets the now sizable crowd flailing madly. The synths are still intact but compared to whats gone before this is active, dynamic and pumped up on adrenalin.

Always one to pay attention to the visual side of live performance, Mount then asks for the lights to be turned down so the bands light-up guitars show up properly. This attention to detail also manifests itself through the music resulting in a focussed yet exuberant set that includes melodica playing, pounding electro and joyful disco beats. The crowd are steadily stirred up till the thumping, repetitive You Could Easily Have Me results in a fantastic, moshing finale.

This formed the perfect end to an enjoyably eccentric nights entertainment that started slowly but peaked at just the right moment.

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