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LondonNet: London Music Guide
LondonNet Gig Review

Metric

London King's Cross Scala
10 February 2007


Metric at Amazon >>

From the instant Metric took the stage at the Scala, it was nothing but pure rock and roll. Lead singer Emily Haines stood centre-stage, but guitarist Jimmy Shaw regularly stole the spotlight with his blistering guitar solos. At times, his work sounded like it would be more at place in a Sonic Youth or Dinosaur Jr. track. In a set consisting largely of tunes from Metric's most recent album (2005's Live It Out), it seems that the two years of touring in support of that album has paid off. They have taken charge of these songs, moulding them into much stronger pieces than they were on record.

This sort of a powerful live performance is to be expected from members of the Canadian Broken Social Scene collective. However, Metric's decision to crank the proverbial knob to 11 was still a bit surprising. On their records, Metric wavers between this sort of harder-edged, politically-charged rock music and more subdued and thoughtful ballads. However, Haines seems to have got her urge for quiet pondering out of the way with her solo release last year, and is now able to focus Metric on the louder yin to that yang.

Haines' rock star swagger was in full effect on an extended version of Dead Disco, a track from Metric's debut long player Old World Underground, Where Are You Now. While two years turned Live It Out's tracks from average to very good, the four years since that debut was released have turned Dead Disco from a good song into a showstopper.

The song went from a little over three minutes to approaching ten minutes, through prodigious use of breakdowns, solos and Haines' crowd surfing. I can't tell if that sounds good or not, because I'm sure I would be suspicious of a jam session. But this isn't exactly Phish, the energy level soared and had the crowd as rowdy and raucous as I've seen. Mid-song she ranted about the necessity that music be 'in the moment' and how it just never is, seeming to imply that this was one time where it, in fact, was. It came off as way deeper when she said it, I think, but on the other hand maybe it sounded silly even then and we had just all fallen under Metric's spell by that point.

- Kevin Garnett

Metric at Amazon >>