Metronome Festival 2022 — It’s Time to Come Together

metronome prague 2022

It has been two years since the Metronome Festival has been able to bring top-notch musical artists to Prague for their annual summer outdoor fest.

They have been trying and they haven’t given up, yet. Headliners for Metronome 2022 (June 23-25) are Beck, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, and Underworld.

When Beck first played in Prague in the mid-1990s, at the Belmondo Club at Vltavska, he was a fresh face with a swagger and hip-hop meets street-rock sound in tune for those times. This was the time of his first hit, “Loser,” from “Mellow Gold,” a hurtful insult turned into an anthem.

Since then, Beck has calmed down, or rather, evolved to be one of the most innovative and thoughtful composer-songwriters in pop music. Generations have passed since his Prague debut, and not too far from that initial spot; Beck will finally be back, and this appearance has been postponed since 2020, due to you know what.

Based for much of his musical career in the hilly and remote Silver Lake area of Los Angeles, Beck has been kind of an outsider on the music scene due to his consistency in crossing genres ala Neil Young, from alternative rock to folk, psychedelia, country and pop electronica.

The early success of his 1997 album Odelay, winning Grammys for Best Alternative Music Album, and Best Male Vocalist, came back around in more recent years, by earning Grammys for Album of the Year – for Morning Phase (2014) and then for Best Alternative Album and Best Engineered Album for Colors (2017).

Beck, whether consciously or not, carries the banner of the best LA-based singer, song-crafters from Crosby, Stills & Nash, to Brian Wilson. As a multi-instrumentalist with an occasional Midas touch for composing catchy pop songs, Beck should be a superstar, but it seems that he’d rather not.

If there has been any essential shift in his sound, over time, it had been to a lush and majestic melancholia up until his two most recent albums Colors which shifted back to experimental upbeat pop, and a dreamy vaperwave on Hyperspace (2019) produced by Pharrell Williams, which was again nominated for two Grammys-Best Alternative Album, while it won Best Engineered Album-non Classical category. 

beck metronome prague 2022

Another major headliner is the Australian singer/songwriter Nick Cave, who began his career as a raucous and post-punk singer-phenomenon with his band The Birthday Party. Since the 1980s, he has been mostly based in the UK, though there was a significant period of his life in Berlin from the mid-1980s and after the city’s reunification of the East and West after the fall of the Wall in 1989.

Nick Cave’s performance with his group the Bad Seeds in a rundown though formerly regal Berlin nightclub for Wim Wender’s film Wings of Desire (1987) best captures Cave’s enigmatic charisma on stage.  Cave’s complex life is also brilliantly depicted in the documentary 20,000 Days on Earth (2014), beyond music (as musician and composer) he is an author (poetry and fiction), screenwriter and actor.

Nick Cave has played in Prague several times including legendary shows at the Lucerna Grand Ballroom in 1992 and 1993, then most recently at the O2 Arena in 2017. His planned concert again for 02 Arena in May 2021, as part of the Metronome Festival was cancelled due to government restrictions.

nick cave metronome prague 2022

The final headliner, of this three-day festival, is Underworld, from the UK, an electronic group from the mid-1990s and renowned for its dark and hypnotic techno-dance tracks, a sound of urban tribal rituals.  Underworld last played in the Czech Republic as headliners at the Colours of Ostrava Festival in 2016.

Beck, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, along with Underworld, in their own ways have the music most suitable for our times. These artists weave masterfully from melancholia to powerful bursts of joy; for Cave, especially, it can be sounds of a menacing darkness to glints of light on bluesy-punk horizons.

Overall, it is the time now for rejoining such weary first-rate artists kept from touring internationally for two years, and their fans alike kept from live shows; so a reunion of sorts is long overdue.

For more information, visit Metronome Festival Prague

underworld metronome prague 2022

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