By Michel Dussack
Rock bands don’t play Radio City Music Hall very often, but when they do, it’s almost always a show that’s memorable forever. Canadian indie rockers Metric’s show at the historic New York venue on September 23rd was no exception, and while being confined to an area in front of a seat may have stifled the crowd a little, the band was firing on all cylinders. The band’s 18 song set was based heavily upon their 2012 release ‘Synthetica’ and 2009’s ‘Fantasies’, though a few older songs and a very special cover would wind up in the set as well.
Backed by an array of cubes of blue light Metric, led by vocalist Emily Haines, kicked off the night by performing the first three songs of ‘Synthetica’ in order, with single ‘Youth Without Youth’ receiving the best crowd reaction of the three. A couple of tracks later, fan favorites ‘Empty’ and ‘Help I’m Alive’ set the crowd into cheers and many finally realized that indeed it is possible to dance and jump up and down in the space between your seat and the seat in front of you. Metric followed with another trio of new material including the phenomenal title track from their latest album before kicking into another miniature set of older material.
Of particular note was ‘Dead Disco’ extended to about seven minutes thanks to some added instrumentals and guitar solos courtesy of James Shaw, and the show closer ‘Stadium Love’ during which the entire venue seemed to be vibrating with bass. As the band walked off stage, a giant countdown clock appeared to mark their return. Now, don’t get me wrong, everyone always knows encores are coming at concerts, but to me, this seemed to cheapen the effect even more. Long gone are the days where encores were a spontaneous occurrence for a crowd that desired it, replaced with shows planned to the minute.
After performing ‘Black Sheep’ (from the Scott Pilgrim soundtrack) and the classic track ‘Monster Hospital’ came something that nearly no one expected. As Emily began to talk about her brother’s influence on the music she would listen to at a younger age, crew members began to set up a second microphone for the next song. Emily quickly introduced none other than the legendary Lou Reed to the stage to perform ‘The Wanderlust’ with the band, however it didn’t stop there. Next the band and Reed performed a cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Pale Blue Eyes’, something that I doubt a single person in attendance of the show will forget.
A raucous performance of ‘Gold Guns Girls’ was next and after it was over drummer Joules Scott-Key and bassist Joshua Winstead departed from the stage. Emily and Josh performed an acoustic version of ‘Gimme Sympathy’, and as the crowd joined in and harmonized on the song with Emily, it was obvious that this nigh was just as special for Metric as it was for their loyal fans.
1. Artificial Nocturne
2. Youth Without Youth
3. Speed the Collapse
4. Dreams So Real
6. Help I’m Alive
9. Breathing Underwater
10. Sick Muse
11. Dead Disco
12. Stadium Love
13. Black Sheep
14. Monster Hospital
15. The Wanderlust (with Lou Reed)
16. Pale Blue Eyes (The Velvet Underground cover with Lou Reed)
17. Gold Guns Girls
18. Gimme Sympathy (acoustic)