You know what, I love it when bands come out on time and just launch into their set. No fuss, no muss, no tepid microphone banter, and no gear-tweaking like they missed the sound check. Metric came back into town and blasted through their ninety-plus minute performance at Webster Hall last Friday night in front of a mostly younger Manhattan crowd (95% NYU undergrads by the looks of it). True to their name, things were precise and to the point. And Emily Haines, pogo-jumping around in black and white zebra stripes, seemed to have one thing in mind: to work it out.
It doesn't seem so long ago when she first sang on that Broken Social Scene record (Anthems For A Seventeen-Year-Old Girl). Since then, Metric has evolved into one of the more energetic and celebrated synth-pop bands around. On stage, Haines was everywhere; even when planted herself behind her keyboard, her body/hair/eyes couldn't keep still. Those opening gigs for the Rolling Stones a couple years ago have rubbed off-there's a Jagger ragdoll firecracker in Haines for sure and both her band and the crowd seemed to ride off her moxie all night.
In between all the foxy gestures (believe me I wanted to stay in the photo pit as long as I possibly could), there was the business of delivering hooks, and Metric tore into their melodies with a great combo of zeal and ferocity. The crowd stomp-danced in beat with every song, and I kept having to keep my balance while taking photography because the place was quickly going bottoms up like a giant diving board. That's another thing I love, when the crowd is so bent, you start wondering if the floors are gonna give out. By the time they charged into "Combat, Baby" the entire place was dialed in. No real letdowns during the entire set. There was a brief exhale during the beginning of "Empty" where the audience collectively caught their breath, before being hit with the buzz saw chorus and getting back into it again ("Shake your head it's empty, shake your hips move your feet").
Haines kept it fun and intimate all night-slinking up next to band mates for choruses, tiptoeing the edges of the stage, and engaging in call-and-responses with the crowd. They closed with "Stadium Love", and Haines (maybe running out of energy a little by then), kneeled to the floor and crept into the first row up front. A few moments later, she sprang back up like a clock and started bouncing back to center stage, waving goodbye. Not that it seemed for a second like she wanted it to end or anything.
Photos by Gabriel Kuo