The Metronome Festival has built a reputation as the veritable summer music happening in Prague by bringing internationally top-names along with the best of local talent across musical genres for four evenings and three full days in June.
Beginning the 21st with two evening concerts, altogether there are 66 artists-groups on the program. Then from the 22-24th there is an accompanying program making it a Music & Arts Fair with art exhibits, installations, workshops, film and theatre productions, and special attractions.
The music headliners are Jamiroquai, M83, Moderat, Zaz, Aurora, Tove Lo, and more.
Jamiroquai has played Metronome before, and so their return is due to the nostalgia factor. The leader Jay Kay was a celebrity of the acid jazz scene, and their “chill out” vibe defines the 1990s post Velvet Revolution daze.
From this perspective “Return of the Space Cowboy” their second album from 1994, and certainly their most popular recording, should be the motto for these London funksters’ return.
In contrast, music for the millennials is best served by M83, a French electronic group (dream-pop, synth-pop meets alt-rock) who has been based in Los Angeles practically since their rise to stardom. M83 is the second-wave of French groups, singing in English and following Daft Punk, representing a golden era for European-pop.
Even with album titles like “Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts” (their second from 2003), overall, M83’s sound has a dramatic yet optimistic uptick, so it is ideal for festivals and festivities. M83 has a new album “Fantasy” released in March 2023, and still sounding in top-form.
Moderat is a German electronic trio (a so-called super-group) from Berlin. Formed in 2003, this makes them children or even grand-children of the Kraftwerk generation. They are comprised of Sascha Ring (aka Apparat) and Modeselector (a duo consisting of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary).
With their lyrics in English, they have an international appeal, and at their best, their minimal techno builds to a potent electro pulse especially live. To confirm their intense live performances, they won “the #1 Live Act of the Year” already back in 2009, by readers of the online music magazine Resident Advisor.
Earlier evening headliners include three phenomenal pop divas including Zaz from France, Aurora from Norway, and Tove Lo from Sweden. Zaz combines joie de vivre with chanson and the tradition of powerhouse melancholic French singers like Edith Piaf. Aurora is remarkable for the overwhelming and uplifting force of her voice, and especially in live performances, and still as only a young artist on the rise. While also singing in English, like Aurora, Tove Lo is more of a mainstream pop artist.
Highlights of the Czech scene include pop-rocker David Koller on the opening night, and two groups (singing in English) but most of all noted for their dance music oriented shows. One is the super-group of funk-pop led by Roman Holý as Monkey Business Spexial; the other is electro-dance-rock group Mydy, led by Žofie Dařbujánová, and already successful on the international music festival circuit.
There are late night concerts (DJs and electronic music artists) on Friday and Saturday including surprises like the Canadian electro-punk musician and visual artist Camilla Sparksss, who is scheduled to play at approximately 3:00 am on Sunday morning. Too bad for those who go to sleep a bit earlier.
The Festival has also expanded to a much wider program of art installations, exhibitions, theatre and film, workshops, and other attractions.
Highlights include the work of H.R. Giger (a unique realization of his “Alien” from the 1979 sci-fi horror film by Ridley Scott), and a sports zone organized by the Czech Olympic Committee honoring Věra Čáslavská, the legendary gymnast and Olympic gold medalist from 1968.
She is the most successful Czechoslovak sportswoman ever, and the fourth most successful Olympic sportswoman in the world. However, she paid a price for her political convictions (under the Communist regime). In honor of Čáslavská, the theme of the sports zone is titled “Courage.”
Last year, Metronome was hit hard with a bad luck of lightning storms on the main evenings. Let’s hope that the storms will not disrupt this ambitious festival again. Rain or shine, the Festival will go on.
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