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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Concert Review: Metric

Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw of Metric play an ...Image via Wikipedia

Metric tore the roof off the Newport Music Hall Tuesday night.

There are few times in my memory where I've been to a concert that was so full of people just happy to be there. The audience was mostly young people, teens and early twenties, who knew every word to every song and were happy to sing a long. The band was all smiles and seemed genuinely gleeful at the attention they received. Emily, the lead vocalist/keyboardist profusely thanked the crowd and even thanked CD101 for "playing us so much, even though they saw 'Metric, put out by Metric,' few radio stations would do that." After the last song, which was an acoustic version of Combat Baby sung by Emily with guitar accompaniment by James Shaw, the rest of the band (bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key) came out and bowed before the crowd. They didn't seem to want to leave and the horde of fans chanted their name long after the house lights came on.

Metric live is LOUD. During Help I'm Alive the bass was so intense the hair on my head was shaking, the change in air pressure caused my ears to pop, and my balls jiggled. Being a fan of bass, I didn't mind this at all.

The light show was also incredibly intense. A lot of people find the strobe lighting too distracting and actually a bit blinding; once again, I didn't mind. It was one of the best light shows I've seen for any band at the Newport.

Vocalist Emily Haines is one of the best people to just watch. Dang, that sounds creepy. Anyway, she makes ridiculous and hilarious facial expressions, twitches her legs and shoulders, smiles with unadulterated glee, and dances in a herky-jerky way reminiscent of Elaine from Seinfeld. She would hold her arms out in front of her and stomp in place like the classic Frankenstein monster. In short, she was fun. I haven't smiled so much just watching someone since... well ever, I think.

Jimmy Shaw (can I call you "Jimmy?") looks like a young, well-dressed Bruce Springsteen, but unlike old Bruce, Shaw can shred some guitar licks. I never really knew this until I saw the live show and witnessed three of his solo's. He isn't Eddie Van Halen or Tom Morello, but he ripped it up.

Winstead, as most bassists are, seemed the most enigmatic of the group; staying to one side of the stage, kind of out of the lights. Like I said before, the bass was amazing at this show and he's the one to thank. Because of a bad view (an amazon lesbian with a HUGE bag was in my way), I couldn't tell what kind of style he used to play; pick, slap, combination, whatever. Either way, it worked out great.

The drums were hard-pounding. Scott-Key beat the shit out of those drums. And the best part was he was grinning like a madman for most of the set.

The entire set sounded tight and on; I didn't notice any mistakes or false-starts, or anything.

The crowd really ate it up. The band was all smiles too. They obviously relished the attention, but not in a pretentious or arrogant way; they seemed genuinely surprised and humble at the love they received from the crowd; a refreshing change of pace from bands that seem to just go through the motions.

Here is Twilight Galaxy from the Newport show. Starting around the 6 minute mark, it turns into some headbanging craziness. Not too much of that from the crowd of mostly young well-dressed women, but you'd have been surprised. I wanted more videos of the show because there were many instances of slow and sweet immediately crushed by heavy and pounding. Good contrasts.

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