Before Metropolis started two years ago in November 2015, an Irish winter festival seemed like a hard sell. By October every year we’re usually done with the festival spamming all through the summer and we’re getting ready for the supposed dry November, getting ready to destroy ourselves over Christmas.
But over its last two editions, Metropolis has emerged as a new take on European ‘conference’-type winter weekenders, with interviews and workshops along with music performances in the RDS. This year organisers might have had a few butterflies in the lead-up, after the announcement of Samhain going head-to-head in direct competition, but Metropolis is fully sold out, weekend and day tickets, so the scenario has worked out well for everyone.
There was also the huge blip of Sunday headliners TLC pulling out in recent weeks, but I reckon they dodged a bullet. 90s nostalgia wouldn’t have carried the gig beyond a No Scubs singalong, and bumping techno pioneer Richie Hawtin to headliner with his new  multimedia show saved things. The TLC blow also meant last-minute additions of space disco fave Todd Terje, Glasgow hype machine Denis Sulta, soulful house don Mall Grab and all the 90s nostalgia you’ll ever need in the form of Jazzy Jeff (without the Fresh Prince, calm down).
The real 90s nostalgia trip is Leftfield performing their iconic 1995 debut album Leftism with the original singers and MCs on tour with founder Neil Barnes – in a celebration of one of dance music’s most revered mission statements.
Leftfield are headlining the opening party tomorrow night, with a serious blockbuster supporting cast of French techno legend Laurent Garnier (who’s also playing the Button Factory after-party), wiry dark synths from Death in Vegas and banging analogie techno from young Berlin trio Fjaak.
On Sunday, techno looms large over the RDS, and as well as Hawtin, you’ve got Peggy Gou, Adam Beyer and Jeremy Underground. There are a few more polite tasteful festival acts like Jungle and Booka Brass, a few leftfield electronics from Mount Kimbie, Bonzai, Karyyn and OR:LA, and some deep house and techno from Irish boys New Jackson, DJ Deece and Krystal Klear.
And as usual, if you need an excuse for a time-out, there are plenty of art installations to distract you, as well as various panel discussions involving Richard Fearless of Death in Vegas, DJ Jazzy Jeff, ELLL, District Magazine, Nialler9 and Neil Barnes of Leftfield.
You’ll be out in the cold by 11.30pm, but with six after-parties to choose from, you won’t be home till way way after midnight.