It had been a little while since I’d been to the Electric Ballroom in Camden, the last time being back in October time for the Los Campesinos! gig, and so I was looking forward both to going back to the venue and also as I was really looking forward to seeing Metric live.
The identity of the support band had been kept fairly quiet for some reason for the show and I only got there in time for their last two tracks which were pretty average to be fair so I wasn’t too fussed about missing them. In the gap after their set, I managed to wander quite easily down to the front of the stage, albeit right over to the side but for me this is a much better spot than standing halfway back in the venue just to be central. This is even more noticeable in the Electric Ballroom as for such a big venue, there’s no slope whatsoever so for a gentleman of my stature, it’s pretty crap to be any distance back. So, in what I thought was a good spot and after quite a lot of faffing on stage, Metric finally came on.
Coming out on stage in moody lighting with smoke aplenty on stage, they started out with one of the new tracks in Twighlight Galaxy, which I thought was a surprising one to open with. It actually worked very well with the understated anture of the song and the lighting with all the layers of synths going on. After that, they launched into the fantastic Help I’m Alive which was fantastic. From there on in, the pace of the set remained quite high with a lot of tracks of Fantasies with Satellite Mind, Gold Guns Girls and Collect Call all played, with Handshake being the only old track in there.
After that onslaught, the pace dropped with Emily Haines taking a bit of time out to talk to the crowd, saying that the band were happy to be playing the final show of their tour in London and how they love coming to England, saying that some of the best music has always come from here and by that she meant the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and not the Klaxons and Bloc Party, which got a few laughs from the crowd, and how that she hoped Metric could embody the two former bands. It was all a bit pretentious but setup the brilliant Gimme Sympathy in a great way. After that, we had a mix of old and new tracks, including Dead Disco, before finishing with Stadium Love which I’ve never particularly been taken with on the album but live it was so much better.
Then after the obligatory run off stage, we were treated to a great encore of Monster Hospital and a stripped down, acoustic version of Live It Out with Emily jumping off the stage to come down the front of the crowd for high fives, hugs and the like which was a really nice touch.
All in all, it was a much better show than I’d anticipated. I’d only discovered the band recently through Fantasies so was quite pleased that the majority of the set consisted of those tracks as they have a much better, layered sound than some of the older albums. But on the flipside, the older tracks are a lot more raw and the unpolished sound of some of them can be their strength as well as their weakness. And in Emily Haines, the band have a great front-woman with her going between synthesiser, guitar and vocal duties.
They’re not quite ready for stadiums, as they almost seem to believe, but for that night, the Ballroom definitely belonged to them.
Metric – Help I’m Alive (live)
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