Re: Is it fair to play live with a metronome?
Playing with a click does not make drumming sterile!
There is still a human drummer playing along to a click and there are always their imperfections in their playing...that is one of the huge differences between the sound of human drumming and that of a drum machine or of quantized drumming.
BUT!...as far your drumming goes I would not use the metronome for live performance. You have to learn to develop on tempo memory and holding tempo as a basic musicianship skill (this applies to all other musicians)...
...say you are faced with a performance or rehearsal situation without a metronome, you should be versatile.
Metronomes are great rehearsal/practice tools but you have to understand that in a band situation each musician's timing and dynamics interact. If you a have a metronome playing in your headset you might be inflexible to controlling how far behind or ahead of the beat you are in relation to everyone else in the band. In short, timing is balance issue between musicians.
The other downside is that if you are playing a tune that has variable tempo (for example a slowdown towards the end) a metronome will be no good for that and might actually be distracting.
Also remember that live performance does not have to match the recording so close...otherwise, why did the audience come to see your band perform. Live performance should always be something more than what is heard on a CD.
So if I was in your position I would learn to perform without the metronome.