Whilst constant renovations have left its exterior a shadow of its former self, the Metro is looking better than ever inside. Ample viewing from all angles remain, and bars conveniently located right on the main floor ensure fans retain both hyration and prime viewing position, and I’m sure the bar-takings don’t suffer either. Every child player wins a prize!
Metro Theatre, Melbourne, August 5, 2011
Tonight’s support acts have become well known in their own right. Stonefield are the obvious choice for the ‘Best Up-And-Comer’ award, and have been widely reported in the music press as leading the charge for awards of the type. Most stories highlight their youth, beauty, femininity and on-stage uniforms. I also enjoyed their music. Yes, it could be described as derivitive, but I’ve never had a problem with artists wearing their influences on their sleeves. It would have been nice to have heard Stonefield play an up-beat Jimi Hendrix cover, but maybe they thought that it would have been too obvious, and played Whole Lotta Love instead, which seemed to please the surprisingly visible pub-rock sector of the audience.
Next up was Papa Vs Pretty, which was nice because I have been wanting to hear more from this band. I hope they have a long and illustrious career, because I enjoy their songs. Again, the band’s influences are apparent, but I love the fact that they jump from one style to another so suddenly. One moment I am detecting shades of Augie March, then it’s a Queen-esque guitar solo, before switching to Radiohead mode for a while. It’s a bit like a mix-tape I’d make, but with the novelty of being originals. Even though they seem quite stylistically distinct from the headliner, they seemed like a good choice for support.
Kaiser Chiefs are an interesting band, but I am never sure whether or not I will like them live. I resigned from my longest standing job a few years ago in order to watch the band, only to find that a string of miscommunication lead me to miss out anyway. I think my concern lies with the fact that they are a boring-looking bunch of guys. Typically pictured clad in shades of brown, their appearance doesn’t exactly scream ‘rockstar,’ and it is rare to hear stories of back-stage antics or outrageous rider demands from them. Nevertheless, Employment and Off With Their Heads are two of my favourite albums, so I was pleased when the band launched straight into Everyday I Love You Less And Less and barely stopped for a breath from that point on. My fears of boredom had been allayed by Ricky Wilson’s literally bouncy entrance and constant energy. Without an instrument to pose with, he swung the microphone stand precariously around the stage, and performed all kinds of mime acts.
The audience right beneath the stage around me had been pretty tame and pleasant to begin with, aside from a few girls who had been chanting the same line of The Angry Mob since they’d arrived hours ago, but that all changed when the chorus to Never Miss A Beat started, and all of a sudden some giants appeared from nowhere and attempted to push everyone at the front of the stage out of their way. Fists were pounding everwhere, and then the chorus was over and they died down, till the next chorus. After the song, I heard one of the girls screaming at the giants ‘What are you even doing here if you don’t like the band!?’ The giant guys returned briefly later on, attempting to push their way to the front of the audience and claiming to be friends of the band and desperate to say hello. When they made little progress, they went away, only to re-appear for the chorus of Ruby. Behind me I could hear more jeering and saw unexpected slam dancing. Maybe I was naïve, but I hadn’t expected the Kaiser Chiefs’ brand of sing-along pop to attract this bogan element.
After a false finish midway through I Predict A Riot, Ricky returned from the stage to crowd surf around the perimeter of the venue. Whilst it tended to make the song drag on for a little too long, it was forgivable given the quality of the set and allowed for suitable build up to a big closing of the song, before a quick break between the main set and an encore that ended with a satisfyingly extended Oh My God that thankfully reunited the audience into a fluidly moving, perfectly timed, bouncing wave, perfect to close the show.
Having come directly from a work function, I’d used the cloak room, oddly, and thought that some of the hostility voice towards the attendents was a little unfounded, particularly considering – like everywhere else at the Metro – the queue snaked right by another bar, so I enjoyed a Southern Comfort cocktail whilst I waited the not too long time to retrieve my coat and school bag.