A festival in Ireland during Winter may not seem like the brightest idea, but being within the safe and warm confines of the RDS makes you wonder why this hasn’t been done more regularly. Metropolis is a safe haven in the middle of a cold November weekend. Every stage is indoors aside from the spectacle that is Arcadia, standing in the middle of it all, shooting flames from each corner of its alien-shaped stage design.
Something that is clear from a brief stroll around each area of Metropolis is that a lot of thought and effort has gone into the design of the entire grounds. Even the lighting and projections for every stage seem meticulously thought out for every act that’s set to play. It feels like most artists are here to play their own gig rather than just a festival set and it’s the perfect opportunity for anyone who missed Forbidden Fruit, Electric Picnic or any of the various festivals over the summer, to finally get they’re kick of an eclectic mix of artists all in one space.
Suitably kicking off proceedings are Hare Squead, proving that they belong on the main stage with a stellar opening set – not that it is was ever in doubt. However, shortly after, White Collar Boy proves that just having encapsulating visuals doesn’t necessarily lead to an exciting live show. Cloud Castle Lake, creating a relaxed atmosphere back in the main hall, are showcasing some excellent musicianship, as well as a falsetto voice that just doesn’t quit.
Over at the Shelbourne Hall, Booka Brass Band take off at a ferocious pace and maintain it for their entire set. They close with a medley of covers that gets one of the biggest reactions of the day and cements their status as one of the best live acts in the country – largely due to their monstrously big sound and relentless energy. Le Galaxie‘s electronic sound is projected to the now full main hall and is complimented by some magnificent dance moves on behalf of the lead vocalist. They don’t take themselves too seriously and it pays off. Closing on the Jurassic Park theme song ensures an epic send off for the group after an enthralling show.
Vic Mensa does his best to match the energy levels with some hip hop but seems to fall short on more than a couple of occasions. Adding some Nirvana, Thin Lizzy and House of Pain guarantees a brief singalong in an otherwise unfamiliar set amongst the crowd. However, the Kanye West-produced ‘U Mad’ gets such a massive reaction that grants it a second run through.
Perhaps the most surprising set of the weekend comes courtesy of The Roots. Not much of their own material stands out as particularly grasping, but they know how to entertain an audience and that cannot be denied. It feels more like an extended jam session by the band, rather than a careful selection of tracks from their huge back catalogue. This may have been an attempt at pleasing both the casual and diehard fans but really only works for the former at times. Their main downfall is a slightly shortened set time and the extended instrument solos that despite being impressive, seem to drag on to some degree. ‘You Got Me’ minus Erykah Badu and ‘The Seed’ bring things to a slightly rushed close for hip hop’s biggest band.
While Hot Chip close out the main hall in suitable fashion, Vince Staples delivers an entirely different show in the intimate confines of the Serpentine Hall. The main star of the show, aside from Staples himself, is his debut double album, Summertime ’06. Tracks like ‘Norf Norf’ and ‘Senorita’ end the night with a huge bang that expells whatever little energy is left amongst the audience. The only thing left to do now is to go home and recuperate for tomorrow’s proceedings.
The Roots and Metropolis photographed for State Leah Carroll.