Support this time around was of a totally different realm. Ghostpoet, Coventry-cum-London artist Obaro Ejimiwe fresh off releasing a very, VERY well received debut LP, “Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam”, had amassed a sizeable swell for a support, especially half an hour after doors opened.
With rapping versed enough to avoid being lumped alongside the slippery pop slope, whilst studious enough (complete with leather elbow patches) to avoid getting stuck with any tags his clear influence could bear – stepping confidently through a set that went by took quickly, but left the bar staff with little to do for an engrossing half hour.
Vocally taking a nod from Gil Scott Heron whilst scuffing it up with some distinguished Southerner patter, his backing musicians offer a surprisingly elaborate yet effectively undistracting backdrop to the lyrical proceedings, sweeping away any notions of dub or ‘black rock’ with de-congesting drum solos and ushering guitar riffs. The boy will be back up the road soon, no doubt.
Metronomy don’t muck about much getting onto the stage, with frontman Joesph “Friendliest Man In Pop” Mount underlining the 10pm curfew as well as the band returning to Scotland’s capital after a glut of Glasgow gigs.
Within a handful of tracks, it was pleasing for the crowd to see tit-for-tat battle between the new album released two weeks ago, ‘The English Riviera’, and the album released two years ago, ‘Nights Out‘, that bolstered their status in the post Klaxons hype of the indielectro field
The formula was consistent, opening each track with bass lines so taught they sounded like they were striped from 1980s Commadore 64 cassettes, which was all too often lost when the electro started to boil over the tune the four pieces was building on.
This was most evident during a tired version of ‘Back On The Motorway’, complete with stumbling guitar intro and a similarly third gear rendition of ‘Holiday’, throwing backing vocals that should sound on record come across smoothly strained.
In Cab Vol however, there was too much bread and not enough butter for the majority of efforts from keyboardist Oscar Cash and bassist Gbenga Adelekan – distracting rather than focusing the ears on Booth’s candidly slanted delivery.
Not that it mattered to much to the grand scheme of the soundscape, but consistently sounding caught somewhere between joking and aiming to get the correct pitch didn’t help focus the main lyrical delivery as it likely does in a studio.
Current single ‘The Look’ was the first time the delicate and driving force of Adelekan’s bass was allowed to shine with just a simple pulsating keyboard chime for competition, rather than the scatter of electro for most of the hour.
With the club night curfew looming, the band kicked into the encore without leaving the stage, pouncing into penultimate album track ‘Some Written’, that at over five minutes long wiggled to conclusion without the same revelation it likely poses audiences from the predictable restart.
With the Over 14s tag helping the gig sell out and bolster the legions sweating stage front, there wasn’t much room for maneuver until the lights went up and a “truly spontaneous” encore dragged the gig past their murkier moments and over the finish line of quality expected.
With only a two minute, but riotous blast of instrumental ‘On The Motorway’ could easily see many bands closing up with a ten minute jam, even after driving well past the curfew. It’s telling that this was once the set opener, brought back to life as the guys pursue the pressing commercial success that has not been in tandem with the deserved critical acclaim.
Still tae tour…