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Live (June 23rd, 2012) - Commodore Ballroom - Vancouver, BC
Unlike so many shows, Metric’s appearance at the Commodore Ballroom came with little fanfare or promotion. Announced just a little over a week beforehand, the win-to-get-in show still had people clamoring for tickets and the show was packed for the Toronto indie-darlings to take the stage.
While there were no openers that night, the crowd (many of whom got there hours early to ensure that nothing would mess up with their wrist-bands) was treated to more than fifteen minutes of a repeated bass drone and shaker combination. Thunderous and monotonous enough to induce a headache, the repeated bass tone sparker many-a conversation about just how bored the house DJ was that evening.
Nevertheless, all was forgotten and forgiven as Emily Haines and company hit the stage just after nine thirty. As their first show in support of their brand new album, Synthetica, the band wasted no time in showing off their new material as the first six songs of the evening happened to be the first six from the new record. They split it up with 2001’s Empty before jumping back in with the title track.Â In fact, they hit every track on the album other than The Wanderlust, giving fans of a glimpse of what to expect on their upcoming stadium tour.
Having just been released the week prior, not everyone in the crowd knew the words but that didn’t stop the band from powering through with skill and confidence. Â Yes, their biggest songs drew more energy from the crowd â€“ the singles Youth Without Youth, Dead Disco, Help I’m Alive Â and Monster Hospital all got rousing sing-alongs; but the band was not dependent on the crowd interaction for this show.
The exuded confidence and took control of the stage, seemingly playing more so for themselves than the crowd in attendance. They knew what they were doing and went out and did it â€“ only stopping to stay the first words to the crowd well over an hour into the set. Instead of banter, the downtime for tune-ups stayed silent as the band communicated amongst themselves. The foursome moved from song to song, never faltering and never stalling. Haines was always at the forefront, flipping between calm and collected and energetic and spastic â€“ jumping out in front of her synths with a wireless mic and tambourine to get the crowd into it all.
Eschewing the use of most of the houselights in favor of an Angels and Airwaves-like light setup, the band was mainly illuminated from the back, transforming them into a smokey silhouette across the stage: a visual that seemed oddly appropriate and some-what Daft-Punkian. Despite the smaller-stage, there was an aire of grandiosity that served to heighten the energy of the evening.
After a somewhat lengthy delay that enabled Haines to do a quick wardrobe change, Metric returned for a three song encore of Monster Hospital, Gold Guns Girls and the crowd-favourite Gimme Sympathy. It was the later that stuck out though as Haines was only joined by guitarist James Shaw with an acoustic guitar and they turned the dancy-number into a crooning sing-along that had everyone on clapping along in unison. There could not be a more unifying and fitting ending to the set than that. It may have taken them most of the night, but the band finally pulled the crowd into it and played for everyone in the Commodore Ballroom â€“ creating a sight that those in attendance will unlikely soon forget.