November 1, 2005 – Crocodile Café – Seattle, WA
by Katie Sauro
It is damn near impossible to draw your eyes away from Emily Haines when she’s on stage. She stands staring out into the crowd mannequin-still, a slow, jangly guitar washing over her, dwarfing her tiny frame. Then she begins to purr sweetly, softly, the first few lines of “Empty.” As the guitar and rolling drums build to a deafening crescendo, she suddenly comes to life, twisting from side to side, hands on her hips, faster and faster until she is nothing but a blonde blur.
Haines, frontwoman for Canadian dance-punk darlings Metric, has an undeniable stage presence comparable to that of Karen O. of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, headbanging to the quick, pounding rhythms of “Handshakes,” high-fiving members of the audience after crowd-favorite “Combat Baby,” at one point, even doing her own version of the robot, and the crowd absolutely eats it up.
Metric is made up of Haines on keyboards/synths, Jimmy Shaw on guitar, Josh Winstead on bass, and drummer Joules Scott-Key, all four adept at channeling 80s new-wave heroes like New Order, blending in heavy guitars and disco beats for an edgy punk-tinged dance-pop sound. The band played most of their recently-released album Live It Out, their second full-length, but mixed in several older fan-favorites, including “Calculation Theme” and “Dead Disco” that had the entire crowd dancing and singing along.
In the month since the release of Live It Out, however, fans have memorized the words of all the new material, as well, a good thing as most of Metric’s set was devoted to the new album, including the punk-heavy “Monster Hospital,” the sensual French cooing on “Poster of a Girl,” and the edgy femme-punk of “Glass Ceiling.”
One of the openers on Metric’s tour is Lovely Feathers, a dance-infused Bowie-esque five-piece from Canada. They obviously enjoyed their time on stage, dancing around with tambourines to sharp staccato rhythms and shimmering guitars, screeching into the mics, and entertaining the crowd. But their performance was a little over-the-top, almost as if they were trying too hard to impress the audience with their on-stage antics, not trusting their music to stand on its own.
Metric will be touring the U.S. and Europe through early December. Check www.ilovemetric.com for more information and for tour dates.