at the Sound Academy
Feb 7th, 2008
By Eva Bowering
Photography by Carrie Musgrave
The last time that I had the opportunity to see Metric play was last summer at the Virgin Mobile Festival. Despite having to pick and choose between bands and fight my way to different stages, Metric was one of the highlights, and a band I was happy I hadn’t overlooked. They were able to build a presence at the festival that proved why they are one of the most popular Canadian acts.
So, when I had the opportunity to see them again at The Sound Academy (formerly The Docks), I took the chance. Although I had never been to The Sound Academy before, I had heard plenty of poor feedback about it. Despite the location’s bad reviews, I kept an open mind. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. The set up was grand, and not so different from other Toronto clubs I had experienced. There was plenty of room, and access to all areas of the concert hall, even after the doors were opened.
Before anyone took the stage, we were pummeled with host Edge 102’s advertising campaign, which — next to the opening act — was my only true annoyance with the show. The overwhelming amount of advertising for other events being promoted by the station took a great deal of focus off the concert itself — plus, The Edge was an annoying host to boot. No wonder I haven’t listened to it since high school.
Flash Lightnin’ was the opening act. Yes, without a G. And no, I hadn’t heard of them either. Their abrasive and over-blown blues-tinged rock brought one band to mind ZZ Top. Never have I thought I would reference them, but there it is, and not in that weird kitsch kind of way, or even because their bassist has a mean beard. Though the band tried their best to wow an audience quite obviously more interested in the dance-y synth of Metric, their selection as the opening act was a horrible mistake on the part of The Edge. None of us could figure out why their drummer seemed to be sitting in a very large pit, or why every once in a while some mysterious guitar-playing phantom would peek out from backstage. Were we the only ones seeing this?
Finally, then came Metric, who somehow managed to make all of those other issues disappear. They opened with a brand new song, rumored to be titled “Black Sheep”, and continued the show with the wonderful, infectious energy I had noticed the first moment I saw them. Despite the almost constant Blondie comparisons — and the fact that this band’s primary focus is Emily Haines — they managed to do what they do best, and that’s put on a show. Emily Haines always seems to give off an intense amount of energy, which holds her fans and audience in a grasp similar to that of Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s that unbridled type of attitude that really doesn’t seem to give a shit about what you think, and that holds nothing back. Metric doesn’t have the characteristically feminine outlook that some female-led bands do, but they certainly do have presence. It is this presence which ultimately earns Metric my respect, and puts Emily Haines on the same pedestal as other great female lead singers.