An eager and lively crowd gathered at The Opera House last night to witness Metric’s new album, Synthetica, come to life. As the release party for the record, Metric of course played nearly the entire album (save for “The Wanderlust”, and “The Void” which was crossed off the set-list) and also threw in some surprise classics that had been dropped from recent shows.
Enigmatic front-woman, Emily Haines, marched onto the stage, immediately entrancing the audience with her powerful stage presence and always interesting sense of style (which consisted of a black leather vest, sparkling sequined shorts and red suede booties with a gold heel).
Without giving more than a quick wave and smile to the audience, Haines burst into their atmospheric new track, “Artificial Norcturne”, which opens with the brash line “I’m just as fucked up as they say,” and got the crowd swinging their fists and chanting in unison within seconds. The song’s building energy segued seamlessly into lead-single, “Youth Without Youth”, which surely works much better on stage than it does on radio.
After playing the up-beat yet melancholy track, “Speed The Collapse”, Haines jokingly lamented the song for being too sad and wordy. They then began the equally sad, and much more confessional track, “Dreams So Real”, which could’ve turned into an epic sing-along of the coda “I’ll shut up and carry on, a scream becomes a yawn” had Haines actually sung that part.
Brightening up the mood was new fan-favourite track, “Lost Kitten” – which Haines sung most of to guitarist Jimmy Shaw – and sounded as good, if not better, than the studio version. Surely the “hooker” line in Lost Kitten had some kind of connection to the hooker-themed Metric classic, “Hustle Rose”, which was played next. The fans joined in on Haines’ signature moves during the song’s intro and were excited to hear such a great song pulled out of the bag.
Another epic of a song – which received screams of recognition as soon as the guitar started – was “Empty” from Metric’s 2005 album, Live It Out. The song was as loud and boisterous as ever and found Haines showcasing another one of her signature head-shaking moves during the song’s chorus. Both “Empty” and “Dead Disco” featured characteristically drawn-out breakdown sections where Shaw exercised his guitar skills and Josh and Joules held down the rhythm.
But it wasn’t until “Gold Guns Girls” that Haines showed off her own guitar prowess, striking chords at pivotal moments and providing Shaw with a back-drop for another epic solo. After ripping through the bouncy Fantasies-closer, “Stadium Love”, the band returned for a three-song encore. As the lights went down and a 30 second countdown flashed on the screen while the crowd cheered for more. Thankfully they didn’t make us wait long.
Their first song of the encore was “Help, I’m Alive” and second was “Monster Hospital” (sadly missing the amazing “bam-chicka-bam” intro), which momentarily revived the rebellious, trouble-maker snare of Live It Out, before calming things down for an acoustic rendition of their “massive fucking hit”, “Gimme Sympathy”. Haines dedicated the song to all the moms out there and even got a little teary-eyed as she spoke about the family members who came to support (among them were the Shaws, the Haines, and even Amy Millan’s mother).
With screams, laughs, and proclamations of love coming from all ends of the venue, Haines gleefully said “I just can’t play music and not feel anything.” And from the looks of it, the audience couldn’t help but feel the same way.