Toronto based Metric has always been straight to the point. They’re pure rock & roll in the 21st century – delivering album after album of commentary on sociology, the love we experience, the heartbreak, and all of the misunderstanding and understanding of life in between. At the core, even visually, it’s about the music itself rather than a large image or vast focus on the band’s background.
This translates beautifully during the band’s live set. When the lights drop, James Shaw, Joshua Winstead, and Joules Scott-Key take the stage to outrageous roars – followed lastly by front woman Emily Haines. It’s apparent at the opening lines of “Artificial Nocturne” that the musicianship and live comfortability surrounding the four is athletically strong. They’re able to thrive in an almost painless looking action – with such a sturdy work ethic that Metric can channel all attention on the emotion of the song or interaction with the crowd.
Mid-way through the set, the band took a break to speak with the audience. Haines shared stories of cunning life moments, asking the crowd how it’s going, and eventually segueing into a small talk about the connection with the audience, the area, Josh’s family being in attendance in the audience, and playing Mr. Smalls venue at the very beginning and opening of the venue.
Eventually, Jimmy took the mic, playfully cutting off Haines’ apparent ‘wrong facts’ to which she coyly followed up with “There’s an expression where it’s your opinion and there’s Jimmy’s opinion: which is the truth.”
Shaw went on to speak, “We knew [Mr. Smalls] was special because we played the show – then we didn’t load out, we got loaded instead. At 3 o’clock in the morning, as we were all partying, we came back to supposedly pack up our gear and we ended up jamming until 6 o’clock in the morning. That’s never happened anywhere other than here and Radio City Music Hall.”
“Should we jam? Cause this could turn into something crazy!” Haines excitedly spoke after a comical interaction with the audience about shrubbery and landscaping. Then? The set played on.
Though Mr. Smalls stated that this event would be an extended set as a means to celebrate the venue’s 10th anniversary, the set played close to what’s been reported as being played throughout it. However, the extended versions of their tracks are a true highlight to witness, particularly “Dead Disco,” which features minutes of elongated instrumentation and improvisation to the point of which the band members are focusing on each other – yes, they’re physically looking at each other, looking and listening for signs of a change in the song structure. It happens after a wicked breakdown, and is executed with such precision that it’s quite literally difficult to keep a closed jaw.
The visuals themselves are nicely consisted of neat LED fixtures that flash and change colors during the set. At one point in the show, and it’s the only complaint, the lights changed to a bright read outline with a blue filling, which instantly looked like the revamped mall chain JC Penney logo, but other than that, they’re a small addition to Metric’s aesthetic that aides to the excitement and anticipation of song set and band articulation.
An acoustic rendition of “Gimme Sympathy” ended out the unblemished night. Balloons rained down from the ceiling, Emily and the gang said goodnight, leaving the crowd smiling. There aren’t many bands with longevity left. Metric is one of them. Metric live is a sight to see.
While tearing down, the crew playfully found ways to divert the crowd from harassing them for band memorabilia. However, one girl did manage to grab a setlist that was duct taped to the floor while they had their backs turned. Ironically, the setlist hasn’t made its way online for this particular night, but it’s pretty close to those on Setlist.fm. This is the best alteration possible. Please comment if there are any corrections.
Youth Without Youth
Speed the Collapse
Dreams So Real
Help, I’m Alive
Gold Guns Girls
Gimme Sympathy (Acoustic)
Video & Images courtesy of Amanda Conary – my accomplice for the evening (along with her sister Christina).