Metric 6/13 Music Hall of Williamsburg Review

By Michel Dussack

On June 12th, Canadian rock band Metric released their fifth studio album, Synthetica, to great reviews and much fanfare. The follow up to their nearly flawless Fantasies doesn’t necessarily feature a massive hit in the sense of ‘Gimme Sympathy’, but it is a collection of well made, generally awesome songs. The day after the album was released, the band played a private fans-only concert at the intimate (for them) Music Hall of Williamsburg.

Their 13 song set was drawn almost entirely from the new album, though hearing Metric play their songs live is typically a very unique experience to listening to their albums. For starters, James Shaw’s guitar was way higher in the mix, adding a much more rock vibe to the new material. Of particular note among the newer songs were album opener ‘Artificial Nocturne’ which opened the show and the title track ‘Synthetica’. Shaw used a fair share of distortion and FX pedals on the latter of the two, creating a fuzzy, choppy riff that perfectly balanced singer Emily Haines’ vocals.

Despite the album only having an official release the day before the show, the band streamed the album for a week before the release and it was clear fans took the time to learn the words. Not only did most of the crowd sing along with every word of lead single ‘Youth Without Youth’, but they even did a fair amount of singing on tracks like ‘Lost Kitten’ and ‘Breathing Underwater’. It was the older songs, however, where the crowd really let loose.

‘Empty’ off of Live It Out was the first older song to make an appearance, and the slow start of the track served perfectly to slowly build up the crowd’s energy. By the time came for the band to bust out the heavier second half of the song, the floor of the venue was bouncing up and down. Of course, Metric staple ‘Dead Disco’ and it’s famously extended intro made an appearance, though it was probably the shortest performance of the song I’ve seen the band do. That’s not to say it wasn’t every bit as great as it always is, it was just weird not seeing the band perform a six minute heavy guitar and synth filled intro.

When the time came for the encore, the band treated us to a performance of ‘Gold Guns Girls’ which featured Haines on guitar. Drummer Joules Scott-Key and Joshua Winstead then walked off stage to leave just Haines and Shaw. Haines proceeded to tell a story about how the band all met in Williamsburg and that the city would always hold a special place in their heart. With that, her and Shaw closed out the night with an acoustic version of their hit ‘Gimme Sympathy’ that was as genuine as a rock show gets before the rest of the band came out to wave goodbye to the crowd.

With a massive upcoming tour that includes a stop at New York’s legendary Radio City Music Hall in September, seeing Metric in a venue as intimate as this one was a real treat for fans. Now…is it September yet?

Metric setlist
1. Artificial Nocturne
2. Youth Without Youth
3. Speed the Collapse
4. Dreams So Real
5. Lost Kitten
6. Empty
7. Synthetica
8. Dead Disco
9. Clone
10. Breathing Underwater
11. Nothing But Time
12. Gold Guns Girls
13. Gimme Sympathy (acoustic)

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