Sexy robot clones, shrieking guitar solos, and rapping mad scientists; all performing live in front of a movie from 1927. The seminal film “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang got a facelift for the 21st Century at Roberts Hall last Wednesday night. The performers of Vox Lumiere enacted a rock opera synchronized with a constant reel of “Metropolis” projected in the background. The plot synopsis of “Metropolis” is basically this: in the future, a luminous and high-tech city conceals a sordid underground of machinery and working class peons. The protagonist, Freder Fredersen, descends into the underground society (literally, beneath the city) and falls in love with a prophetic young labor organizer named Maria. Freder’s father, Jon Fredersen is the corporate head of the city. Upon learning of a plot of a laborer’s uprising, Jon and Rotwang, a deranged inventor, conspire against the movement. Their plan involves using a fembot (the creepiest robot ever depicted on film) to replicate Maria and lead the movement awry. Since the real and the fembot Maria both exist simultaneously, a predictable fiasco of mistaken identity ensues. Fembot Maria gets burnt at the stake for leading the workers to flood their own homes and drown their children. Real Maria gets whisked away by Rotwang the inventor, who has mistaken her for his fembot lover. Freder Fredersen saves Maria, and facilitates peace and understanding between his father and the leader of the workers. Underlying socialist themes aside, this show was all about Vox Lumi- ere; the performers and the score. The music had an almost tidal flow; it came in pounding rock-driven beats and retreated in beautiful floating arias. The score itself was powered only by a drum kit, electric guitar and bass, and a slew of supremely talented vocalists. Styles shifted from in- dustrial beats reminiscent of Nine Inch Nails to tear-jerking rock ballads and mosh pit inducing break downs. The performers were clearly singers first. Choreography was limited, but when it happened it wasn’t particularly thrilling. Risers added levels and depth to the stage and kept movement interesting. Dance seemed to be used just to give the performers something to do rather than leave them stationary and boring. The powerhouse sopranos commanded awe over the audience like sirens. Maria and Freder (the live performers) held excellent harmonies, though Rotwang questionably shout-rapped amidst otherwise soulful and commanding vocals. Undoubtedly, there was much to like about this rendition of “Metropolis.” In a stroke of unexpected brilliance, a scene of Jon Fredersen over- looking the bright lights of the city by night is allowed to play out in total silence. It was powerful. Poignant in the same way that visual artist’s might make use of negative space; art is sometimes all about what isn’t there. It may have been distracting at points to reconcile the plot of “Metrop- olis” with the live performance on the stage. If you became too engaged in one, you’d miss something in the other. Altogether though, the show was successful. Watching a silent film isn’t the most popular means of entertainment these days, but I’m willing to bet more people would have seen “The Artist” if Vox Lumiere was involved.