I forced my way through the narrow doorway of Chicago’s Empty Bottle in a desperate attempt to make it past will call. The show hadn’t even started and people were already arguing over elbow space. This was indeed the triumphant return of Metric. From the door to the main room zealous fans were hell-bent on securing their space on the floor. There’s something about seeing an awesome band that gets good people all fired up and ready for war. I had been waiting nearly two months to see this show, and it was essential I make it up to the front. Outside the venue, underage fans pouted as they waited for returning rides. This event was unfortunately granted exclusively to those 21 and over, leaving some of Metric’s most loyal fans to fend for themselves. After several minutes of excessive pushing, I had made it to the main room and close enough to the bar to order a drink. I had heard rumors that a Metric show was something of an experience, so as I sipped away at my beer, I pondered if what I had heard was really true.
The recent release of the group’s second album, Live It Out, has further developed Metric’s unique sound, creating a follow up album that progresses the band’s musical talent. Live It Out falls on the heels of extensive touring in support of Metric’s first album, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?. Much of what we heard on the band's debut album seemed to deal with frustrations that arise during stagnant moments in our lives. But after more than a year on the road, Live It Out comes more as a retrospective, helping to provide insight into the band's ability to cope with their growing success. Live It Out features a series of sometimes eerie interludes that are often accompanied by gloomy guitar riffs and ghostly vocals. However, this morose combination can instantly turn into driving, rhythmic explosions as bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key exercise their abilities in the forefront of numerous tracks. Violent power chords rock your way through the depressing ambiance, giving the album a bittersweet disposition.
As the band eventually took the stage, front-woman Emily Haines mesmerized the crowd with an array of rock & roll theatrics. Her wild display of pelvis thrusting and ass shaking motivated the hostile audience to lower their guard. By the time Metric had began their second song, the room had been reduced to a dance party. In all the commotion I found myself instantly pinned to the back wall, forced to repeatedly jump up and down in order to see the action on stage. The band rolled through their set playing a series of favorites from Live it Out, as well as their previous album. Haines melded with the audience by frequently jumping off the stage and into the crowd, causing a tidal wave of commotion. After a 45-minute set, the band returned to play a three-song encore that featured one of Metric’s anthems, “Combat Baby.” It seemed everyone in the venue knew the words and held nothing back when blurting them back at the stage. Metric’s performance was a celebration and an excellent opportunity to get your blood flowing. After spending endless amounts of time on the road, Metric has continued to stay fresh, executing a superb performance. Metric’s live show seems to have become such an essential part of the their persona that I hope this latest tour spawns a live album.