The second day of Metropolis, Sunday, was host to a considerably younger crowd than the day before, though fortunately ID checks and security were vigilant enough that the place wasn’t host to a deluge of underage attendees. In fact, the crowd at Metropolis could by and large be described as pretty mellow and mature – the St. John’s Ambulance crew thankfully didn’t seem to have many charges to attend to, there were no Gardaí stand-offs and overall everyone was able to appreciate the acts without being mired by other issues.
Posts on the Metropolis Facebook page indicate that signage issues caused huge congestion in bathroom queues while simultaneously leaving other bathrooms undiscovered and unused. Another crowd-related issue which deserves mention was the rather odd convention of people having to queue outside venues to see acts – a move which, while it did serve to control crowds both inside and out, is weird; it essentially meant people had to wait to see acts that they’d already queued and paid to see. While some of the lines looked daunting long and dense, in reality the longest of queues generally cleared within ten minutes. It was a slightly clumsy regulation, but the benefits of it (no stampedes, no claustrophobic venues) outweighed the downsides.
For reasons not ever adequately explained, most of the sets in the Shelbourne Hall were bumped forward half an hour. This was neither good or bad objectively, but the schedule change elicited the typical reactions of either a.) joy that two sets no longer clashed (Kerri Chandler and Four Tet back to back? Awesome.) or b.) heart-wrenching sadness at things that suddenly did clash (Kink and Four Tet now on at the same time? What is this, Sophie’s Choice?). The change was so gracefully handled, however, that it ultimately wasn’t a big deal.
TRINITY ORCHESTRA performing LCD Soundsystem
While the description may inspire skepticism, TCD Orchestra’s performance was so artfully arranged and beautifully executed that songs such as Dance Yrself Clean, North American Scum and All My Friends sounded completely natural being performed on violins and cellos. Male and female vocalists took turns at the mic, either performing solo or in pairings, and all in all this rendition of LCD Soundsystem breathed new life into the songs and served as the perfect way to christen the Main Hall on day two. There was something wildly entertaining about watching the performers blink and exchange glances as some of the crowd launched into rounds of “One more tune!” while the curtains began to close – a reaction far removed from the concert halls which orchestras generally frequent, though it is worth noting that TCD Orchestra are no strangers to the festival scene and therefore, arguably, should be more used to that.
House and garage veteran Kerri Chandler was, for lack of a better word, cool. Cool in the almost regal and self possessed manner with which he gently bopped while manning the decks, sporting a beanie despite the oppressive heat of the crowded hall. His gap-toothed simper and gentle countenance was a stark contrast to the hypnotic set he played which segued effortlessly from song to song. The man is eminently a pro and the walls practically heaved while he was playing.
Four Tet is best known for collaborations with Thom Yorke and Burial, as well as for having built upon a number of genres and traditions before settling on the ambient house he now performs. Is transcendent too hyperbolic a term? Perhaps – still, there was undoubtedly something beautiful and unified about the way Morning Side filled the Shelbourne Hall, the fusion of strings and beats and vocals paired well with the rainbow tessellating visual effects broadcast above him. Amid many acts peopled with lively jazz players or characterised by garage and grime, Four Tet’s slow-burning yet electrifying set stood out like a sore but beautiful thumb.
CHIC feat NILE RODGERS
Nile Rodgers’s ubiquitous presence in the music industry was made clear in this set; the band performed not only Chic songs, but a selection of the number of tracks Rodgers has produced including hits such as Bowie’s Let’s Dance, Madonna’s Like a Prayer and Diana Ross’s Upside Down. The man and the band, frankly demands no introduction – they were one of the most successful disco acts at the time and their performance at Metropolis only served to remind why it is they couldn’t be topped. The stage was peopled with masterful musicians and powerhouse vocalists, all headed up by a veritable legend with a mic in one hand and his trademark hitmaker in the other. Unmissable.
It’s seldom that DJs ascend to the level of recognition that Jeff Mills has achieved – seriously, who’d have thought a man on a turntable would get knighted by the French Ministry of Culture – but that being said, it’s seldom one gets a DJ like Jeff Mills. Mills eschews modern digital formats and instead mixes lives on three decks, using around seventy records per hour, the sheer momentum of which alone is wildly impressive. Mills performed a three hour set and over the course of the evening was utterly brilliant and completely unshakeable, keeping the presumably already tired revelers on their feet and moving until the last moment. In conjunction with harsh yet simple visuals and lights, the final set of the evening had an apocalyptic feel to it, a sort of it’s-the-end-of-the-world-and-we-love-it level of primal intensity that left people drained, almost half dead, yet ecstatic by the time the lights came up. There’s a reason this man is called one of the world’s best techno DJs.