Metric – Academy 3, 11/05/09

2017 May 12

Every now and again we’re lucky enough to have bands do what they do best on camera for us – and yesterday we were very, very lucky to be granted an audience with Metric, arguably the most high-profile act we’ve had thus far. We didn’t quite know what to expect when we were, in true flouncy rock-star fashion, escorted to their dressing room – which had a larger kitchen than our respective flats do – by PR people with walkie-talkies and passes, but Metric couldn’t have been more friendly, and thankfully it all went as smoothly as possible.

Check out our Metric video interview, including an acoustic performance of Gimme Sympathy HERE.

Metric’s new album, Fantasies (which came out last month) is certainly a step up from previous works – they’ve put out consistently good albums like every other band that is tangentially related to Broken Social Scene (which is virtually every band in Canada except Nickelback and Rush), but the new one is a lot more commercial than previous efforts – in some circles this could be considered a slur, but I think Fantasies is tremendous. It’s a great album, a solid piece of work, yet every song could be a hit single. This is pretty rare, and kind of a surprise considering Metric’s previous slow-burners.

I hadn’t seen Metric before yesterday, but from the session and their earlier albums I had assumed the live show would be something of a subdued affair – I’m hard pushed to think of a time when my assumptions have been further from the truth, because Metric act like a punk band, strutting and leaping around the stage as though it is the last time any of them will get to perform and they have to make it count. I’ve seen actual punk bands who didn’t give a performance as energetic or sincere as Metric did – in fact I’d probably go as far as saying that Metric are the best punk band I’ve ever seen. I understand the problems with describing Metric as a punk band when they peddle a kind of synth-pop new wave-type thing (and peddle it so well it has won the Tour de France five years running), but when you watch footage of bands like Black Flag and Mission of Burma from their respective peaks, they just went for it and didn’t seem to exist outside of that frame – the same goes for Metric.

The album’s got some absolutely blinding pop songs on it that more than stand up for themselves, but the delivery was so incredibly sincere that it just makes you appreciate their records even more. Metric played for about ninety minutes and didn’t stop for the entire duration of the show. Haines whipped the crowd into a veritable frenzy and everyone in the room could have watched them for another ninety minutes, including myself. If you get the chance to go and see them, I’d take it, because they’re brilliant.

Metric are currently on tour in the UK and are playing The Great Escape Festival in Brighton this weekend.

John Tucker