“I call those my days of debautch, and I just can’t do that anymore, but I can certainly still sing about it,” said the ever-beguiling frontwoman Emily Haines Friday night. It was then that her band, Toronto’s modern electro pop band royale known as Metric, returned to NYC for their first full show in a few very long and lonely years to captivate her crazed Big Apple fans once again. It was amazing and very inspirational to see how this band that’s been around since the late 90’s felt more alive and vibrant than ever on stage together again after what felt like a very long break. It doesn’t seem like so long ago that Broken Social Scene alumna Emily Haines and guitarist James Shaw as duo were turning out some of the most titillating low-fi downtempo electronic music with a poetic pop edge anywhere around. Over time, the electronics got larger and more ominous and the themes more ambitious and contextual. However, over the last several years it seems like they desire to explore the juxtaposition of relentless realism and synthesized artificiality in both their electronic and instrumentality in their music and the deep lyrical ends.
Upstate NY’ers Joywave opened the show, and like the headliner, they like to play off of the comparisons and contrasts of the electro-pop and the skull-crushing rock anthem esthetic. They have a distinctly experimental tilt, although their approach is far more tongue and cheek, being far more ready to party than to philosophize. There is an inner-anxiety that calls upon a Talking Heads sort of edge while still having a sort of Passion Pit power and slickness that really appeals to pumping up a crowd.
The times may have changed drastically over the last 15 years, but the struggle has not let up with Metric. The band’s lineup remains secure, as Joshua Winstead and Joules Scott-Key still wind up a slamming rhythm section. Still, this is the first fans of the band have been able to witness the band’s new album Pagans In Vegas played in person since it was released early last year, and sure enough, it proves to be their slickest and sickest collection of tunes yet. Mixing a deeply synthy 80’s new wave of bands like Depeche Mode, a deeply experimental electronic soundscape of a 70’s Kraftwerk, a 90’s harmonic slickness of Cocteau Twins, all colliding with a modern female-fronted band like Yeah Yeah Yeahs or The Kills.
They continue to prove they can pound out a perfect sing-along anthem, a fist-pumping rocker, and a disco butt-popping tune like no other band around. Still, you can’t help but have your attention seductively drawn to the goddess of the almighty appeal of frontwoman Emily Haines. She can hog your attention like watching an angel fight the devil on stage in an epic battle royale.
This night, dressed in glittering gold sneakers and a tight black one piece leather with built in bad-ass jacket outfit that looked like she was just poured into, Emily exhibited her sexy and confident side right next to showing off her boundless energy in giving everything that was to be had to the audience. Her astoundingly powerful vocal-vibrato, never once waivered throughout the show, not mention what massive crescendo she was crushing. The setlist went from one end of their six-album catalogue to the other, starting off with “IOU” from their very first album, but soon delving into brand new track. There were also epic sing-alongs like “Help I’m Alive” and “Dreams So Real,” for which she even filled the stage with local vocal talent to help with the serenade. Emily also teased the audience with little acapella versions of fan faves like “Raw Sugar” and “Combat Baby,” and of course ruled over epics hits like “Gold Guns Girls” and “Breathing Underwater” that had the hole place pumping firsts and bursting into song.
Article: Dean Keim