In my 18 years, I have attended well over 50 concerts, within almost every genre. From Morrissey to Young Thug, I thought I had seen it all when it comes to live music. However, last week, I experienced one of the most phenomenal performances of my life. Perhaps, the fact that I have been waiting to see this group since middle school fed into the experience, but I am resolute in the absolute sanctity of the ambience. There were neon capes, a diamond-incrested keyboard, wailing guitar solos, and a light show that seemed to correlate perfectly with the lead-singer’s falsetto. Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to see Metric in concert.
Since their 1998 Toronto inception, Metric has consisted of four members. Emily Haines as a lead vocalist, James Shaw on lead guitar, Joshua Winstead on bass, and Joules Scott-Key on drums. I suppose the band would be classified under the blanket genre, “Alt-Rock,” but the beauty of Metric’s sound is their refusal to subscribe to one specific genre. Metric released their first album, “Old World Underground, Where are you Now?” in 2003, but only gained notoriety after their fourth album, “Fantasies.” Since this album, they have preformed at Coachella, and been given a slew of awards including “Best Canadian Album of the Year,” and “Best Alternative Album” from the 2010 Juno Awards. After a short hiatus, Metric is back with their newest musical masterpiece, “Pagans in Vegas.”
Metric’s lead-singer Emily Haines expertly avoids the tired trope of the “girl in a band.” Haines refuses to serve merely as eye-candy, composing the lyrics and chords of her songs entirely. The daughter of a poet, Haines’ lyrics explore outside the customary themes of unrequited love and romantic desire. Haines pairs her experimental synthesized instrumentals with lyrics exploring the heinous nature of American vices, the necessity of female empowerment, international social issues, and the intricacy of modern relationships. She commands a refreshing stage presence; wearing outfits that fit each song, dancing wildly, and engaging with the audience enthusiastically.
With each released album, you can observe Metric’s tangible development as a band. They have moved from a guitar-based sound to a more electric tone, and unlike most bands that are fluid in genre, they carry over the same musical prowess. In “Pagans in Vegas,” each song is crafted with the intention of audience connection. The electric instrumentals are unpredictable, yet formulated, with each song differing from the last. In my opinion, the best songs from this album are “Too Bad, So Sad” and “Cascades.” However, before you indulge yourself in this album, I suggest you listen their previous tracks, “IOU,” “Combat Baby,” “Satellite Mind,” “Soft Rock Star,” and “Clone,” to get a feel for their progression into an unexplored genre. Metric, in essence, is timeless, and their performance is one I will remember for the rest of my life.