Concert Review! Metric @ Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, Canada
I have been something of a Ticketmaster God this week. Instead of punching brick walls, I was
skilled lucky enough to have nabbed a pair of Metric tickets for their intimate show at Danforth Music Hall, AND also Toronto Blue Jays playoff tickets to the American League Divisional Series (should they make it). If I was an eloquent enough writer, this is the part of the article where I would draw parallels between Metric and baseball or the Blue Jays. Instead of smashing a 400 foot home run out of the park, I’ll switch it up and talk Metric.
The band just released Pagans in Vegas, the supposed first of two albums they plan to drop in quick succession. The Toronto act continue to explore a deep, synth and electronic sound on this album, with the first half of the album having plenty of dark sounds to engage the listener. Having caught the band’s album release show for Fantasies back in 2009, I was pretty excited for last night’s show.
Some fans wore animal masks at the band’s urging, myself included (if you saw a shark visor, that was moi, breathing underwater). The streets were filled with buzz (for ticket holders) and disappointment (for those without). The crowd was filled with Blue Jays hats and animal masks – an odd mix if there ever was one.
The band kicked off their tour’s first show with a spoken word intro, and the band coming onto stage with masks. Singer Emily Haines had a peacock-like outfit, complete with glowing lights on the feathers. The band kicked into Lie Lie Lie and we were off.
The band followed up the opening song with the second song on Pagans in Vegas, Fortunes, making me wonder if they were playing the new album top to bottom. Fortunes ended with an outro full of synth goodness, which gave way to Youth Without Youth, spoiling my theory, but making the crowd truly bounce along for the first time of the night.
Metric reached back one more album to play Help I’m Alive, and the crowd kept getting more involved, with the band feeding off of their energy.
A slow, synth electronic song switched things up, with the band playing For Kicks behind a very foggy stage – a little too much Haines revealed afterwards.
Next up was Cascades, a booming, techno-esque song that I really like, partly because it is so unexpected from the band, but has an absolutely killer groove. Emily Haines continued to do her best Beyonce impression, by continually changing outfits, this time with a growing green cape that comically blew in the wind machine. Oh, they came to perform!
The nondescript Scott Pilgrim vs. the World soundtrack song Black Sheep was next, followed by the vocally beautiful Collect Call. Jimmy Shaw took to the mic after an acoustic intro and sung! He sung the new tune Other Side, which I still don’t love (sorry Jimmy).
The band turned it up a notch, playing the fast paced Synthetica behind a wall of fog and smoke. The high tempo continued with Gold Gun Girls, including a nice guitar solo from the spastic Shaw.
The band closed out the set with the first single from the new album, The Shade. Once again, Haines managed to channel Beyonce, with the wings in her hair blowing in the smoke machine ala Ms. Knowles. The crowd loved the blip-filled chorus, and tried to out sing Haines.
After an hour and 10 minutes, the band had played 12 songs, and only songs from the most recent 3 albums. The horror!
The band repaid longtime fans by playing a rousing version of Empty, drawing immediate cheers from the crowd. Shaw once again riffed hard and furiously on the guitar. The song sort of petered out, and then recovered towards the end.
The massively overplayed-on-the-radio single Breathing Underwater was played next. This is the song where my Dad randomly sings the high pitched part of the chorus when he walks by, as even he has heard it 1000 times. That doesn’t mean it is a bad song by any means – it happens to certain songs, and helps if you’re CanCon. The crowd enjoyed a nice singalong.
The band closed their set with Celebrate, perhaps the most un-Metric like song on the next album. Reminscent of Coldplay’s collaboration with Avicii in it’s “out of left field” release, Celebrate almost sounds like a remix of a Metric song, with its thumping, dancey beat. However – I could listen to that chorus all day. The 4 note lead in is simple but deadly. Bubbles sprayed around the crowd, and then confetti cannons blasted us with, um, confetti.
Metric took their bows, and finished their hometown and tour opening show, which I’m sure we’ll see in DVD or music video format, given the filming that was taking place. No matter how big they get, it’s great for a band to show their hometown love, with a mix of free tickets and cheap tickets ($20/$30 – yes please). Now bring on Pagans in Vegas – Part 2.
PHM Rating for Metric: 7.5/10
Setlist for Metric at Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – September 24, 2015
1 – Lie Lie Lie
2 – Fortunes
3 – Youth Without Youth
4 – Help I’m Alive
5 – For Kicks
6 – Cascades
7 – Black Sheep
8 – Collect Call
9 – Other Side
10 – Synthetica
11 – Gold Gun Girls
12 – The Shade
13 – Empty
14 – Breathing Underwater
15 – Celebrate