METRIC Live at Terminal 5

June 18, 2009

Everybody loves Emily Haines.

Metric played Wednesday at Terminal 5 in NYC, with Sebastien Grainger and Smile Smile. And yes, Emily was there. I like her too, but I wasn’t professing my love in between songs like every guy and girl within shouting distance. They sounded great live, as I now expect any decent band to do, but I was a little disappointed with the Fantasies-heavy set.

A few of the songs on their new album sound the same, and then act like they’ve got big hooks, and yet they don’t. The best examples are “Front Row” and “Stadium Love.” The lyrics to the former are simple and uninspiring, and the song doesn’t seem to go anywhere. “Stadium Love,” which they closed with, after Emily explained in great detail what the title meant, doesn’t have the kind of groove you expect from a song written so obviously for dancing. In case you were wondering, Ms. Haines claims to have more than enough love to fill Terminal 5, and by extension–a stadium. Hence the name, but the rest of her rant made no sense; it involved cheetahs, giant cheeseburgers and other safari characters.

They spent a lot of time on stage, but I felt that they too often went into 4-minute bridges that made me forget which song we were hearing. When they finally came out the other end of the bridge I didn’t know if it was the start or finish of a new song. Emily also went on a few nonsensical rants, mostly about striving for things, memories, love and not letting the man keep you down. At times she really seemed more like an emcee than an indie-rock songstress. The rage-against-the-machine lyrics of Old World Underground and Live It Out were never more apparent than when she yelled them. Don’t get me wrong, she’s lovely, but most people will only tell you how they love her awkward and endearing dance moves.

Before the encore I was relieved that there weren’t anymore Fantasies tracks to play, so we would probably get “Combat Baby” and maybe my favorite: “Calculation Theme.” “Dead Disco” and “Monster Hospital” were the highlights of the set, and it was sad to not hear many favorites from Old World Underground.

Smile Smile was a good example of a band with a nice sound but super-lame drum kits. They plugged in an iPod with drums so that they could play over it, and I’m sure this is done a lot by really small groups but it makes otherwise interesting musicians seem banal. The weak drum kit was even more apparent when Sebastien Grainger played, and their drummer actually hit umm… you know, drums. I recognized a song of theirs, but I was really more impressed with their drummer than most of their set.

I feel that much of Fantasies is overproduced; this is most apparent in the two singles “Help, I’m Alive” and “Gimme Sympathy.” I had heard an acoustic version of the latter from a SPIN magazine recording during Coachella 2008, which had better lyrics and a better guitar harmony in the chorus (see it here). And the final version of “Help, I’m Alive” is vacuous; the dramatic lyrics are made boring through repetition and there’s too many sounds distracting you from the main melodic vocals. Here’s my favorite Metric song, ever:

Metric – Calculation Theme

Finally my shit is back together again and I can write to you. Pictures from multiple sources with better photographers than I: Brooklyn Vegan and Quiet Color. Hope that’s cool.

4 Responses to “METRIC Live at Terminal 5”

  1. Ke Says:

    “it involved cheetahs, giant cheeseburgers and other safari characters.” What, no love for giant cheeseburgers?!
    Hm, sort of disappointing to hear that they pretty much did the Fantasies album. Don’t get me wrong, I adore that album, but when comparing to their previous albums, it does indeed come out a little bland. At least they did your favorite song! ^_^

    I never use my own pictures because they are always in such poor quality, so of course it’s cool. :p /notaseriousreplysinceit’spointless

  2. fuzzwack Says:

    Hey man, thanks for reading my fledgling blog, I very much appreciate it. I dig the review of the Metric show, and the photos are great. They’re a special 5 dollar show in Columbus (where I’m at currently) on August 17, so I’m thinking about going. You’ve been bookmarked and added to my trusty blogroll!

  3. geoff Says:

    It’s the internet–there’s no such thing as fledgling! I’m trying to find the name of your blog, since “fuzzwack” yields no results in my history search.

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