Metric @ The Hi-Fi, Sydney (26/07/2012)

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It was a cold Thursday night, and we may have been in the clutches of a merciless winter, but Sydney kids didn’t seem deterred from getting sound-bites away from the calibre of Splendour In The Gras sideshows showcased, and tonight Canadian indie darlings Metric hosted one of these sold-out shows.

Ballarat dance outfit Gold Fields had the honour of opening proceedings on the evening and did so in fine form. Having seen the local multi-instrumentalist play last year, it was interesting to watch their new-found ease on a stage, and they were in an infectiously good mood. Beaming from the stage, there seemed to be a part of every song that was perfect for audience participation, playing tracks from their EP album, including The Woods, with an early highlight throwing in a cover of Underworld’s Born Slippy which was a joyous ruckus that sees singer Mark Fuller’s voice complemented perfectly. After this performance it wouldn’t surprise me if Gold Fields break through the commercial barrier as their appeal is widespread and their talent evident.

The diverse crowd cheered in unison when Metric hit the Hi-Fi stage, starting off the evening with Artificial Nocturne from their latest fifth studio album Synthetica, it didn’t take long for the crowd to get into the swing of things. After gliding through the opening minutes of a relatively calm song, the energy in the room picked up significantly as singer Emily Haines jumped up and down playing her keyboard during Youth Without Youth and Dreams So Real, whilst Joules Scott-Key pounded away at the drums, Josh Winstead laying down the bass, and James Shaw being lost in a guitar solo all with blinding strobe lights and a building of jumping fans through Lost Kitten.

Playing an extended version of Empty ensured that there were no empty spots between people as the show turned into a true communal event. And even when the crowd seemed as though it was losing steam, Metric modulated the tension like a well-tuned motor, much of that was due to Haines’s delivery. Those reluctant to get involved at the beginning were obliged to when they dropped the crowd favourite Help I’m Alive into the set. In a similar vein, this trend continued as Haines put the crowd into a Metric trance as her silver skirt and gold shoes sparkled as they caught the lights, pointing and singing to the unison crowd during Synthetica, Clone, and Breathing Underwater, all from their latest album.

Dead Disco was next, which turned into an extended jam and incited an army of crowd surfers to make their way through the crowd and drew a smile and “Alright” from Emily as the crowd boisterously sang along the chorus. Donning a skeleton strapped guitar Emily and the band went into their closing track Stadium Love before briefly leaving the stage.

After some cheering and chanting by the crowd, the boys came back onto the dark stage and played some eerie sounds before the screens turned bright red as Haines returned to the stage and launched into the wildly energetic Monster Hospital with the band blazing through the intro as Haines flew across the stage spitting onomatopoetic syllables into the microphone. As the song came uncorked, and out gushed a wave of distorted power chords and a full-bodied drum part amplifying the drama, it gave way to a simple metronomic drum hit and some synth, with Shaw’s guitar sweeps providing depth of Gold Guns Girls.

Their chosen ending with an acoustic Gimmie Simpathy featuring just Shaw and Haines was a definite highlight of the night, with the audience going nuts ending the night with a giant sing a long in what was truly a communal event. Metric are a band that know how to make their crowd feel like they help them have a great night, that grouped with a setlist that generously reflected each of the bands albums made a huge difference. The group have been nothing short of prolific over the years, and as guitarist Jimmy Shaw describes their latest album Synthetica as ‘the sonic culmination of everything we have done’, tonight Metric accurately represented their recorded songs in a live setting and in some cases even building on them.

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