Sunday, April 28, 2019

Metric, Live

I guess I didn’t do any sort of formal “best music of 2018” post, but my favourite album was Metric’s Art Of Doubt.  Even without this latest surge in interest in Metric’s work, I was still likely going to see them on this current tour for the simple fact that I’d somehow never seen a proper Metric concert in my six-plus years of fandom.  As I recall, I really got into Synthetica literally days after they’d completed their 2012 tour dates, and I forget why I didn’t see them when they were touring the Pagans In Vegas record in 2015.  Pure apathy, which is the reason behind so many of my non-decisions, or was it just the fact that I found PIV somewhat underwhelming?  Gimme apathy.

The venue was none other than my hometown’s own Budweiser Gardens, an arena that I’ve visited shockingly few times.  I’ve been to a couple of Knights games, and as far as concerts go, Metric is only my third in 14 years — the other two were Pearl Jam and Elton John, in case you want to dominate your next Mark-themed pub trivia night.  The Gardens is pretty solid as far as venues go; it’s relatively intimate at a 9000-person capacity, and the acoustics seem decent.  Nothing Metric could’ve done during their concert, however, was going to top my all-time favourite music memory from the Gardens, which was my mother yelling “The Bitch Is Back” at the top of her lungs during Elton John’s show.

Now, I should note that I did technically see Metric live just last year, as the opening act for the Smashing Pumpkins.  It was fine, they sounded good, and they played most of those same songs in their full-length concert.  Yet it’s certainly different seeing a band in their own show than as an opening act, since I can’t help but feel that they’re simply more into it when they’re the headliner.  Playing to a half-empty arena that is mostly interested in the main act can’t be too rewarding an experience, unless maybe you’re opening for a very big band in a stadium or something, and it’s a kick to be playing in an enormous venue that you’d never get to play on your own. 

Tonight’s opening acts were some random singer-songwriter guy whose set I entirely skipped, and then July Talk, whose set I mostly skipped.  I was too busy taking advantage of a concession stand deal that promised “bottomless popcorn” for just $7.  Two and a half bags later, I feel I did indeed hit rock bottom.  Since I could hear the gravelly/tuneless voice of July Talk’s singer from the concourse, I just stayed out there to eat popcorn and watch hockey.  The Avalanche beat the Sharks, fyi.

Metric themselves, however, got my full attention.  It was a good show!  I’m not sure if a ton of the songs were necessarily much better live than on the albums, and in fact I felt a few of them could’ve used some extra instrumentation.  The only people on stage were the four band members and no backing musicians, which left some songs sounding a little thin.  An extra rhythm guitarist could’ve worked, or maybe a full-time keyboardist so Emily Haines (who did part-time keyboard and guitar duty) had free reign to just jump around and sing.  Not that she wasn’t full of energy all night, jumping and dancing and getting the notoriously lethargic London audience into the show.

The setlist!  It was a heavy dose of new songs off Art Of Doubt, except for the unusual omission of new single “Love You Back.”  Apparently Metric has been playing basically this exact setlist for the entire tour, so I’m glad I didn’t spoil myself on the running order prior to the show.

1. Dead Disco
2. Twilight Galaxy
3. Synthetica
4. Risk
5. Breathing Underwater
6. Art Of Doubt
7. No Lights On The Horizon
8. Cascades
9. Dressed to Suppress
10. Love Is A Place
11. Underline The Black
12. Gimme Sympathy
13. Sick Muse
14. Gold Guns Girls
***encore break***
15. Dark Saturday
16. Monster Hospital
17. Black Sheep
18. Help I’m Alive
19. Now Or Never Now

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