The third date of Metric’s cross-country tour with Death Cab For Cutie saw the Toronto-bred quartet turning in an excellent 100-minute set for a near capacity crowd at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.
Opening with “IOU,” the first track from their 2003 Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? full-length debut, things really started to pick up as Metric launched into the night’s second cut – “Help I’m Alive” off of 2009’s Fantasies. Front woman Emily Haines pumped her fist in the air throughout the song each time she sang “beating like a hammer,” with many of the more excited fans in the arena following suit. Dancing across the stage while belting out her lyrics, the charismatic Haines even managed to insert the city’s name into the track eliciting a roar from the audience.
Show-goers were equally enthralled with standout “Twilight Galaxy.” Smoked filled the stage and with the lights turned down the act was nearly invisible for the first half of the track. Then suddenly flash bulbs illuminated everything as the members drew out the ending. Guitarist James Shaw stood along the edge of the stage with his head thrown back while playing making the electro-rock song feel even more dramatic.
Sharing material from throughout their acclaimed career, it wasn’t until the fifth track that Metric showcased songs from their latest release, last fall’s Pagans in Vegas. “Cascades” saw Haines donning a glowing cape and Shaw sporting illuminated glasses. Another quick outfit change followed as Haines disappeared while her bandmates began the dancey “Too Bad, So Sad.” Reappearing with fringe atop her clothes, she spun around while singing with the fringe fluttering all around her.
A large local choir came out to sing along with Haines, Shaw, and bassist Joshua Winstead on Synthetica track “Dreams So Real.” However, because the three members of Metric all had microphones and the majority of the choir did not, their impact on the song was minimal. But from a visual standpoint, it looked pretty awesome to see the band surrounded by so many extra vocalists.
The stage was again shrouded in smoke for an excellent take on “Collect Call” leaving only Haines visible. As the song progressed lights began to slowly circle above heightening the hypnotic rhythms being turned out by the act. Shaw took over lead vocals on the “Other Side” while the audience clapped along before Haines put on a black, sparkly cape – her second one of the night. There are definitely a limited number of performers who can pull off wearing two different capes during a gig and it’s safe to say that Haines is one of them!
Haines sang “Combat Baby” a cappella and as she finished the rest of Metric instantly kicked into “Gold Guns Girls” with the sudden change making the powerful track all the more explosive. An equally fantastic take on “The Shade” came next and had many bodies in the Meridian Centre dancing and shouting along to the “I want it all” part of the chorus.
Whether a cappella or playing as a full band, Metric could do no wrong in St. Catharines on this night. And whenever the band makes it back to the city, I’m guessing many of the almost 5,000 strong-crowd will eagerly snap up tickets.
Follow updates from Death Cab for Cutie here.
Review by Shawn Despres (@s_despres)