Everyone shares milestones in their respective listening histories, which are forever instrumental in heralding the start of a new phase in music preferences. I am no exception: the first time I listened to Metric’s “Help, I’m Alive,” I was scarcely aware of how much it would define my music taste thereafter.
It was also the first song I illegally downloaded as a freshman.
Seeing Metric perform at the Orpheum Theatre on September 20 was something to which I had been looking forward for a while, and yet I was skeptical about this venue since it is seating room only. However, it is safe to say that Metric is a band that delivers a stellar performance under any circumstance.
“I’m just as fu@#ed up as they say,” belted out lead vocalist Emily Haines as the band opened the show with “Artificial Nocturne,” off their latest album Synthetica. Staged against a backdrop of fluorescent lighting that formed a grid around rows of floodlights, the band performed a set that interspersed their new material with older favorites. Haines’s energy as she danced across the stage was outmatched only by her stunning vocal range, which transfers amazingly well from studio to live performance. Bottom line, the woman is a rock star.
Being confined to a seat was frustrating to say the least (especially a seat in the last row), but that didn’t stop the crowd, or myself, from going wild when they performed their older hits. And yes, hearing “Help, I’m Alive,” well, live, was everything I ever wanted and more. The band’s performance was effortless and their well-established chemistry clearly infected the entire audience.
One of the highlights was the lead-up to the encore when the lighting panel turned into a countdown, effectively pumping up the crowd. This four-song run ended with an acoustic rendition of “Gimme Sympathy,” off their album Fantasies.
“So…this is a song that tells you to keep head up and look forward,” Haines prefaced. “I’m not a motivational speaker or anything, but look up!…the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Velvet Underground, these were amazing people…ah fu@# it, I’m out,” she tapered off charmingly. By the end of the show, the crowd took over vocals as the band cheered on from the stage. “I just wanted to get you guys to sing,” Haines teased. Any band that cares about its audience half as much as Metric does I truly believe is worth turning an ear.
To check out Metric’s music, visit their website.