Metric lights up Centre in the Square

After a summer tour that included slots at England’s Glastonbury and Paris’ Rock en Seine festivals, Metric found a few minutes to begin the Canadian leg of their globe trotting tour in Kitchener last Thursday night, with Montreal indie-rockers The Stills as their opener.

Kicking off the show with “Twilight Galaxy” to a visual background that felt like one, it wasn’t long before the sold-out crowd was on their feet, grateful for a concert they could dance to in their often musically overlooked hometown.

Thanks to easy-going security and the absence of a barricade, a makeshift mosh pit formed at the first signs of the mega popular unofficial single “Help! I’m Alive”.

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Tender but tough; Emily Haines rocks Centre in the Square

“This is the good shit right here” said lead singer Emily Haines, an invitation for the masses to leave their seats and swarm the front of the stage for a better view of the chanteuse in a slinky metallic number.

Haines and guitarist Jimmy Shaw played up the spotlight as usual, while the band’s rhythm section (comprised of Josh Winstead and Joules Scott Key) held it together with a musical tightness that can only come with longevity. 

Well-known singles such as “Gimme Sympathy” and “Sick Muse” kept the audience moving, but the number of fans who jumped aboard the Metric ship at the recent release of Fantasies became fairly obvious when the band dug into their now vintage Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? collection.

Those who were around during the days of Grow Up and Blow Away likely won’t be hearing “Raw Sugar” or “Soft Rock Star” anytime soon, but even the most ancient of Metric fans could appreciate the acoustic version of “Combat Baby” that closed the show.

For those keeping up on their music history, Centre in the Square may have found itself a new claim to fame: the band finally found the right time to play “Blindness” –Fantasies answer to Old World Underground’s “Love is a Place.” “Dead Disco” was unsurprisingly a crowd favourite, despite a shout out to London, Ontario that may have been better received at their Centennial Hall show next week. 

“Stadium Love” sent the band away for a brief break before they were called back for an encore by a rally clap, and moments later launched into “Monster Hospital” – the politically charged and fiercely frustrated kind of song that’s been replaced by the less angst ridden exhale of Fantasies.

Those skeptical of Metric’s seemingly complacent new sound should rest assured that Toronto’s indie darlings have not succumbed to the things their previous works have rallied against, though. 

Calm only on the surface, Metric still wants to fight the power. “Has there ever been a riot in this venue?” asked Haines.  

Not yet.