Concert Review: Metric @ Royal Farms Arena (7/27/18)

Metric
Metric (Photo from FB @metric)

‘We’re Metric!’

Emily Haines, lead singer of the indie rockers known as Metric, was keen to inspire everyone at Royal Farms Arena with that key piece of information, repeating it several times.

As the opener on a Smashing Pumpkins’ reunion tour, it’s no small feat to perform ahead of such a grandiose band, especially when Metric has such an impressive resume of their own. Just in case anyone was confused, Emily and co. stood out, both with her pleas to be known and through their very admirable prologue.

Metric walked on stage exactly on time (7pm) and went to work, on what was to become four hours of incredible music and showmanship, with “Black Sleep”, maybe as another nod to their status as an opener.

Metric, for their part, played a tight 45 minutes and gave the expanding crowd a fine sampling of nine new and vintage Metric songs.

Metric is Emily, along with James Shaw (guitar), Joshua Winstead (bass) and Joules Scott-Key (drums). They formed in Toronto, Canada and will release their untitled seventh album in September 2018.

They played two of their new singles, “Dark Saturday” and “Dressed to Suppress” and one other song from the upcoming album called “Now or Never Now”. (Or two, I think “Art of Doubt” is on the new album, but not sure.) “Dark Saturday” is a return to form and a great Metric song, all the more exciting to hear live.

They all loved to mix up the dynamics as well, at one point all four were poised over individual keyboards, jamming for a brief interlude without lyrics. James also wore a fedora hat, and he and his hat were repeatedly reflected as a giant shadow on the empty screen behind them, to eerie effect. Really the only effect during their set, but to be fair the spare performance was a good primer to the over-the-top spectacle that was to come.

My favorite moments were when Metric played classics from their album Fantasies. Like a stirring version of “Satellite Mind” and “Gold Guns Girls”, which set the crowd on the floor, now at full attention, in motion.

They ended with “Help I’m Alive”, leaving us all trembling in satisfaction and a better respect of the meaning behind “We’re Metric!”

This was my fourth time seeing Metric live (including Lollapalooza 2010 and Coachella 2013), but this was the first time as an opener where they weren’t the star, so it also proved to be the shortest set I’ve witnessed. My only regret was there wasn’t more. They did leave us with anticipation of more to come with the Smashing Pumpkins waiting in the wings.

Look for their new album this September!

And check out a rendition of “Now or Never Now” from their Royal Farms Arena show on July 27th below.

Setlist
Black Sheep
Satellite Mind
Dressed to Suppress
Dark Saturday
Art of Doubt
Gold Guns Girls
Now or Never Now
Breathing Underwater
Help I’m Alive

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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