I attended Metric's first of two shows at Toronto's Massey Hall on October 20. The Stills opened the show.
Overall, it was a good show. Not fantastic, but good. There are a couple of things that led to this assessment. First, let me be clear that I like Metric a lot. From the first time I heard tunes like "Combat Baby" I was hooked. It's been great to watch the band gain more and more popularity.
The first thing that led to the not-so-great impression of the show was the seats. I got "Front of the Line" seats from American Express. Well, I may have been at the front of the line, but I certainly wasn't front row. The seats were three rows from the back of the house, in the second balcony. The only good thing you could say about these seats would be that they were head-on to the stage. The other thing about Massey Hall seats is that they are tiny. I'm not a big guy, but I felt completely wedged into my seat. I was so happy that two seats next to my friend and I were empty so we could spread out from our neighbours a bit.
Then there was the show.
The Stills strike me as a good band. I liked the "Still in Love Song" from the first time I heard it and picked up their first album, 2003's Logic Will Break Your Heart. "Lola Stars and Stripes" was pretty good too. The rest of the album never really managed to make an impression on me. Same with their second album, Oceans Will Rise. They didn't win me over with their fairly bland live show. The songs all seem to blend into each other and nothing about them really stands out.
Metric put on a much more impressive show. Their stage presence was what you would expect from a band as experienced as Metric. They seem to be growing into the larger venues quite nicely. I will say that there seemed to be something more "rehearsed" about their show as compared to many of the other bands I saw over October. Certainly this is somewhat due to the larger venue, but it felt like Emily was likely doing the same moves during the same songs every night.
Song highlights for me were "Dead Disco" and the cool acoustic, sing-along final encore tune of "Combat Baby" from Old World Underground, Where Are You Now. Tunes from Fantasies such as "Help, I'm Alive", "Satellite Mind", "Gimme Sympathy" and "Sick Muse" as well as "Poster of a Girl", "Empty" and "Monster Hospital" from Live It Out were highlights, too. "Stadium Love" kind of fell flat for me since it seemed like Emily was trying a bit too hard to sell Massey Hall as a "Stadium", which it certainly isn't.
Overall, a really good show that was hampered by lousy seating and an opening act that didn't warm up this audience member.
Here's a video by someone with much better seats than me at the same show. Wow, I've really got to work on this whole "bitter" thing, don't I?
Emusic has albums from both Metric and The Stills, although they don't have The Stills' first album, which I swear I originally bought from emusic.
Photo from cbc.ca.