Photos by Sophia Russo
Surfing the wave of Indie Sleaze, (and now Indie Sleaze resurrection) Metric is a powerhouse of synthy, alternative pop rock neighboring the sounds of CHVRCHES, Tegan and Sarah, and Silversun Pickups.
Opening for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, and Garbage, most attendees are still looking for parking as front woman Emily Haines takes the stage with guitarist James Shaw, bassist Joshua Winstead, and drummer Joules Scott-Key. Pockets of fans dotted throughout the enormous venue stand and dance to “Gold Guns Girls” from their 2009 album Fantasies. As someone who has barely been alive longer than the conception of this band, I was pleased that the quality of play sounds as crisp as it does on the record released fourteen years ago.
I was introduced to Metric in middle school, their song “Breathing Underwater” populating the radio airwaves of my local alternative station, and then the tiny screen of my IPod Nano. The song is everything I wanted it to be, and I agree with the LA Times description of its “sugary guitars and darting digital effects” supplemented by the whispery and girlish vocals of Haines. It holds up as a later play in the band’s short set, fans who look like or pose as attendee’s of Metric’s set at Coachella in 2013 sing along, asking with Haines: “Is this my life?”
The Canadian band weaned on the New York bloghouse culture (Haines and Shaw once shared a Brooklyn loft with members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio) thanks the audience, Haines recalling their first concert at the Silver Lake Lounge almost twenty years ago and how it compares to sharing the stage with Oasis royalty.
“All Comes Crashing” is the one of two songs performed from their 2022 album Formentera. The almost spoken word verses add the pop beats before the chorus takes Metric’s usual goth synth and sharp electric guitar riffs. Maybe I’m letter nostalgia get the better of me, but it doesn’t hit as hard as their pre-2012 work. Pitchfork describes this album as “mourn[ing] the death of a kind of rockstar success even as they celebrate their achievement of it.” And it resonates in “All Comes Crashing” whose lyrics admit to us: “For all I know this could be my last night.”
They finish the set with a larger audience. The first whispers of “Black Sheep” reenergize the crowd, and Haines-the inspiration for Scott Pilgrim’s Envy Adams-jogs in place to the beat. It’s a celebration of a band who’ve maintained themselves for twenty years, and though I may know them best at their peak of fame, Metric keeps on truckin’.