Ten thousand glitter-covered festivalgoers letting loose to some of the world’s biggest live acts and DJs is not something you would usually see in Dublin on a wet weekend in November. Metropolis is a brand new indoor festival combining a mouthwatering line-up of disco, hip-hop, house and techno acts with art installations and panel discussions across six stages at Dublin’s RDS.
RDS is more accustomed to hosting conferences and exhibitions than festivals but with the help of art installation creators including Coachella regulars The Do LaB it has become an impressive collection of visually stunning stages. All revelers arrive to the spectacular sights and sounds of Arcadia, the only outdoor stage at Metropolis, before taking their pick from four halls of live music and DJs or the Concert Hall for talks from the likes of Howard Marks, Sir David Rodigan and ‘Legends of The Haçienda’ including Mike Pickering and Greg Wilson.
“We’ve always really tried to showcase local artists,” explains Metropolis organiser Steve Manning of Dublin promoters Hidden Agenda. “So that’s why there’s a lot of them on the bill”. Get Down Edits, Kelly Anne Bryne and Steve himself are among those proving the strength of local DJs pulling big early crowds and matching the international talent.
Tiga sets a high standard on Saturday with a deliciously warped live set. The suavely dressed Canadian plays a full spectrum across his 15 years of solo productions and collaborations from breakthrough track ‘Sunglasses at Night’ to this year’s ‘100’ with Boys Noize. ‘Mind Dimension’ is reworked to great effect, slowly dropping the tempo of the looping vocal in the middle before returning to the blistering groove of the original.
The popularity of Todd Terje reveals the main flaw of winter festivals as hundreds are left outside the full capacity Shelbourne Hall having to miss his set. The queuing crowd, however, are rewarded afterwards with a triumphant set from Australian duo Flight Facilities. Fresh from their huge sell-out show back home with the Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra they declare their love for Dublin straight away and pull out all the stops. Merging tracks from their ‘Down To Earth’ album with Daft Punk ‘Revolution 909’ and Modjo ‘Lady’, Flight Facilities win extra bonus points with the Irish crowd, bringing out Stee Downes to perform his Lovebirds collaboration ‘Want You In My Soul’.
Sunday early arrivers are treated to a true spectacle in the Main Hall. A black curtain covers the stage as the analogue synth intro for LCD Soundsystem’s ’45:33‘ plays. The curtain draws back revealing a 65-piece orchestra to the announcement “We are Trinity Orchestra and today we are going to play the hits”. Staying true to their word, the ensemble perform ten of James Murphy’s band’s finest tracks, adding layers of strings, horns and brass while keeping the songs as vital and danceable as ever. Having previously performed Daft Punk’s ‘Discovery’ album in full amongst others, the Trinity Orchestra’s take on LCD Soundsystem’s back catalogue is one that deserves to be heard well beyond their hometown.
Arguably the set of the weekend comes from Kerri Chandler, effortlessly turning a 5pm Sunday afternoon slot into a defining festival moment. Within 20 minutes, he’s lifting the room with his live keyboards and announcing his love for Giorgio Moroder (who later headlines with a lacklustre set) before playing Giorgio’s classics ‘The Chase’ and ‘I Feel Love’ back to back. Kerri constantly switching between different styles of house, his own track ‘Atmospheric Beats’ is among those bringing smiles to every face.
Nile Rodgers & Chic prove once again why they are the ultimate party band and the perfect choice for a festival like Metropolis. Taking in the biggest of Nile’s songs for the likes of Sister Sledge and Diana Ross alongside Chic’s own hits (plus their rework of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky) it’s a flawless show with robot headed stage invaders for set closer ‘Good Times’.
Providing a suitably memorable finale to a ‘deadly’ weekend, Detroit legend Jeff Mills treats the hot and sweaty crowd in Serpentine Hall to a three-hour journey through techno history, leaving our ears ringing with a faint echo of Rhythim is Rhythim’s 'Strings Of Life'.
Words: Pete Wheeler
Images: Kieran Murray
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.