Metronomy’s concert at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on May 6th started, surprisingly, thirty minutes after doors opened. With absolutely no fanfare, Metronomy keys player Oscar Cash quietly came on stage to serenade the bustling crowd with an impromptu keys improv session. He played for a distracted, murmuring crowd, most of which didn’t know what was happening, however it definitely was a kick for myself and others at the front of the stage. He exited as quietly as he came, to scattered clapping from those who had noticed his mischief.
The crowd was then transported back to the 80s by Desire, a Montreal-based synth power pop duo known for their song in the 2011 film ‘Drive’ starring Ryan Gosling. They played a mix of original tracks and covers, including a faithful rendition of Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Out of My Head,” and New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.” Their originals were equally saccharine, with cheesy, anthemic hooks, and thick, blaring synths.
In contrast to her dramatic gothic pleather outfit, lead singer Megan Louise was sweet and charming, blowing kisses to the crowd and encouraging participation, swaying hips and using the sound monitors as props when her own childrens telephone prop wasn’t handy. Her faithful companion, Johnny Jewel, stood steadfast at his synthesizer, playing power riffs with the focus of a classical composer.
Then, the moment we had all been very patiently waiting for (the show was rescheduled from October 2022): Metronomy! They had the crowd cheering so loud all through the night that I wondered if it was like this in every city they go to. Their outfits were chic and fun – a kind of refined-and-fun style that matched the sound of their latest album, Small World.
Although there wasn’t much in terms of stage production and lighting, Metronomy didn’t need gimmicks to keep the audience engaged. They struck hot, opening with “Love Factory” and then “The Bay” as the second song, high energy coursing through the crowd at the pulsing synth of the intro. The band’s flawless performance was a testament to their 17 years of touring and success as an alternative/indie band. The rhythm section, in particular, was outstanding. I will never ever take Metronomy’s bass riffs for granted ever again – Olugbenga Adelekan’s dynamic and moving bass lines, not to mention his spectacular energy and dance moves, were a sight to behold. That combined with enthusiastic dance moves from keyboardist Oscar meant I often found my eyes moving to the right side of the stage. Metronomy’s setlist drew from their vast back catalogue, and fans of all eras were treated to a selection of songs from six of their seven albums – plus, one single, “405“, because apparently a fan from Toronto had been begging them all month on Instagram to play it. Thank you to whoever that was for a very magical Toronto-exclusive moment!
The highlight of the night was undoubtedly when they stuck a bunch of their instrumental songs together for an extended dance-instrumental moment which included “The Light,” “Boy Racers,” “End of You Too,” and “Holiday.” I closed my eyes and soaked in the energy, I jumped and whooped along with the band, I admired the intersecting layers of sound. A magical moment. Another hit moment was close to the end when they played one of their most popular songs, “The Look”. It brought me right back to being thirteen years old, hearing The Look on the FIFA 2012 video game soundtrack, and thinking, that’s a great song.
As the night came to a close, it was clear that the crowd’s deafening roar was not just for that night, but a testament to the enduring power of Metronomy’s music. While already a huge fan of the band, I left the concert with a newfound appreciation for their dedication and talent.
No matter how familiar you are with their music, if you want to see spectacular musicianship and feel transported by their wonderful energy, then don’t miss Metronomy. Find their upcoming tour dates here.