There's no doubt that Emily Haines and company feel compelled these days to make music with a strong sense of urgency. Just look at some of the song titles on Metric's latest album Art of Doubt: "Risk," "Now or Never Now," "Dressed to Suppress." It's a re-energized effort from a band who only played one song from their previous album Pagans in Vegas at the Fillmore in Silver Spring. Though they're reaching musical elder statesman status after more than 20 years together, their set at the Fillmore felt just as assertive and fun as ever.
Haines continues to be an exciting frontwoman on vocals and synths, like on the triumphant “Breathing Underwater” and menacing “Black Sheep,” a cut originally intended for cult classic Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’s movie soundtrack. James Shaw and Joshua Winstead provided the explosive guitar and bass riffs on standout live versions of "Art of Doubt” and debut album cut “Dead Disco.” There’s a reason Metric has stuck around this long and continues to attract sold-out crowds like at the Fillmore - Haines, and company continue to put on dynamic and visually exciting live performances that will undoubtedly keep fans satisfied until the next time they come around. Art of Doubt is out now through MMI/Crystal Math Music.
The night also served as an interesting cultural exchange for those not so familiar with bands south of the border - both Canada’s AND America’s. The Fillmore was not only graced with one of Canada's musical standard bearers but also Mexico’s thanks to the Grammy award-winning psychedelic rock band Zoé. The band shares a penchant with Metric for an arresting visual component to live shows, catchy/uplifting melodies, and a marriage of punchy synths and guitars.
Although he’s the lead singer, Leon Larregui is more of a piece of the larger tapestry rather than a show-stealer (but owning a feather-adorned microphone stand is a classic rock star move). The live band is a sizeable seven-man outfit compared to their usual five, allowing the expansive sounds of their album time to linger with extra percussion and synthesizers. As Larregui sang passionately underneath geometric projections, Metric fans were sure to have gained a new sense of appreciation for this band thanks to the parallels that can be drawn between the two groups. Zoé’s latest album Aztlán is out now through Universal Music Mexico.
Opening the night was five-piece Canadian band July Talk, and if there’s anyone that deserves their own headlining slot at a place like the Fillmore, it’s them. (Not that this is an issue for them back home - they’ve sold out the 2,700-capacity Massey Hall in Toronto three nights in a row.) Co-vocalists Leah Faye’s angelic delivery and Peter Diamandis’s rough-and-tumble vocals stood in stark contrast to one another, making for some very dynamic songs. The back-and-forth antics between the two on stage adds an exciting dimension to their live show. Faye pushes Diamandis’s face away, Diamandis plays with Faye’s long hair, Faye leans her back on Diamandis’s. Their on-stage chemistry absolutely drives home the point that you’re at a ‘show’ in the truest sense of the word. Add some boisterous blues rock-inspired guitars on top of that, and you have a show that undoubtedly gained the upstart band some new fans. The group is currently in the midst of recording their third album. Their sophomore album Touch is out on Sleepless Records.