From its base at The Power House, an imposing 1901 building off Chiswick High Road in west London, the legendary Metropolis Studios has hosted the recording sessions behind some of the most commercially successful music of the last quarter of a century, by artists as diverse as Ed Sheehan, Amy Winehouse, George Michael, Queen, Adele, Michael Jackson, Rihanna, The Verve and the Black Eyed Peas.
Since December, however, the building that had once been inaccessible to the general public has been welcoming audiences of up to 150 people into its flagship Studio A – the most expensively treated acoustic recording room in the world – to witness and be part of an ongoing monthly series of intimate live concerts, with lighting support and expertise from Entec.
The series, Metropolis Live, is largely the brainchild of Gavin Newman, who joined the studio team late last year as events & content director, and forged an alliance with event partner Clash magazine. It was in his previous role at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden that Newman originally developed the relationship with Entec that now flourishes at the Chiswick studio complex.
Newman explains: “I originally joined The Hospital Club to run its website but when producer Nigel Godrich’s studio space on the top floor was reclaimed by the club for the purposes of creating a live venue, I got involved with managing the events and the commercial brand partnerships. Over the course of three to four years, we concentrated on promoting exclusive VIP showcases for major labels and management companies, and whenever possible we would record and film performances for the brands to use to support their marketing.
“Although the live sound element was in good shape, towards the end of my time there, we realised that we were falling short by not putting effort into lighting these gigs. I then started talking to Entec’s MD Noreen O’Riordan about a range of possibilities for lighting. We got on like a house on fire and it was agreed that Entec would provide us with a volume of equipment to give us a sense of how we could develop this aspect of the events. They were extremely helpful in showing us the way forward and [senior lighting service technician] Will Wright came in to light the next few shows with some very cool acts including John Grant, Jagwar Ma and Lisa Hannigan.