Metronomy, Royal Albert Hall, London

A young band grows up fast
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The Independent Culture

How do you get to the Albert Hall? Er... via reduced rental rates for promoters thanks to a scheme that allows for young bands to take command of the 5,300-capacity venue. And, plenty of practice of course.

The Albert Sessions, the scheme in question, is a great idea. Offering cheap seats and a roster of impressive bands, including worldly London types Django Django, make it a rare chance for a subset of music fans to set foot in a magnificent building that might not otherwise feel the soles of their brogues.

It's also a chance for Metronomy to step up, too. The band's recent UK tour has seen them play relatively small venues like Manchester's Academy 2 and Sheffield's Leadmill, so for the Mercury-nominated foursome to fill the imposing Albert Hall is some going.

This performance suggests it won't be the last time they play rooms this size. That's even allowing for a slightly muffled entrance with a recorder quartet followed by the title track from the band's third album, The English Riviera. It doesn't help that the audience sat with their hands on their knees like, as one of the support acts muses "an audience at a Channel 4 stand-up show". You sense it's going to be a hard night for producer/singer Joe Mount and the other three Metronomites.

But after 10 minutes of minor attrition, during "Holiday", from the band's excellent second LP, Nights Out, there are spatterings of movement – and by the time The Bay has flickered through the crowd like a wave crashing into the namechecked Tor Bay, the entire building is up on their feet like it's Last Night of the Proms. But with fewer mini Union Jacks.

Despite being unassuming in manner – Mount's voice can sound almost apologetic at times – there's enough swagger in Metronomy's mixture of synth-led tracks from their previous incarnation as a three keyboard-piece to their current guitars'n'drums sound to turn even the most staid of venues turn into a sweaty pit.

As they return for an encore featuring the sweet drifting new single "Everything Goes My Way" and the thumping "Radio Ladio" – replete with venue-appropriate audience callback ("R, A..." "D, I..." "Oooooh!") – it's hard not to be impressed. There's a nice visual metaphor for this minor triumph too – the trademark lights the band wear on their chests. Three years ago they were cheap 99p manual push-lights. Now they're professional bits of kit, controlled by the lighting technician. It's not quite U2's lemon yet, but if their trajectory continues, God knows what they'll be wired up to in 2015.

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