Tuesday, May 25

Metric @Shepherd's Bush Empire 24/05/10

. Tuesday, May 25

There is an air of Greek tragedy about Metric's performance on this sweltering Monday evening. Blessed with an arena sized show but only the crossover appeal to play to this relatively small theatre, the band lead by Emily Haines, have to make do with posturing like stadium Gods as opposed to living it out in reality.

There is no denying that Metric's 2009 album 'Fantasies' took a deliberate step towards the kind of rock music usually played inside enormo-domes to crowds the size of industrial car parks. Glossy and bold, it packs foot stomping riffs and mountain bridging melodies into three minute pop songs that, when played live, only go to highlight what a shame it is that Metric are not one of the biggest bands in the world.

Kicking things off with 'Empty' the bands combination of synths and strings is displayed with aplomb as Haines atmospheric piano lines are replaced by massive slabs of guitar, waking up a crowd trying to let loose without inciting a heatwave. As the show progresses much of 'Fantasies' gets an airing with 'Sick Muse' and 'Gold Guns Girls' standing out as being big and glossy yet arched and classy at the same time. The band are impressive if not raucous with drummer Joules Scott-Key providing a suitably gargantuan backing to the big rock songs such as 'Satellite Mind' and the appropriately titled 'Stadium Love'.

Perhaps Metric's lack of mainstream success comes from their indie roots where actively seeking the mainstream audiences is something of a sin. In their spare time Haines and guitarist James Scott have contributed to Canadian music collective Broken Social Scene and Metric's past is sprinkled with experimentation and interesting side-shows. We get a glimpse of how the band used to slink and thrash when they tear through 'Monster Hospital' whose opening clarion call of "Bam chika, bam chika, bam bam bam" earns the biggest cheer of the night. It is a shame that more of the 'Live It Out' era is not visited with 'Handshakes' and 'Poster Of A Girl's absence particularly felt.

They say you must dress for the job you want, not the job you have and Metric are doing the musical equivalent superbly right now. If any bands happen to have a gig booked in an arena, stadium, field or even beaming our across galaxies they could do a lot worse than to get Metric to open up for them. The only worry being of course, that Emily Haines and co. would almost certainly blow them off stage every single night.

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