Metric live at Dingwalls, Lock 17, Tuesday January 30
Though lacking in the sort of critical salivating which accompanied Arcade Fire’s most recent London shows, fellow flag-bearers of the Canadian invasion Metric warmed up for their upcoming support slots for Bloc Party by packing out this multi-tiered (though admittedly small) venue. The task of wowing the capital was made all the more tricky by the mesmerising support act Fields. Yet to release debut album ‘Everything Last Winter‘, this Anglo-Icelandic five-piece roared through a half-hour set, showcasing their knack for both languid, harmonised melodies and intense, full-throttle freak-outs. Subtle use of slide guitar and continuously ferocious drumming stood out amidst the enveloping, full-bodied sound. The real star, however, was the angelic, honey-voiced Thorunn Antonia, who flitted between keyboards and accordion, effortlessly capturing the audience‘s attention throughout.
Metric’s last album ‘Live It Out’ shifted focus from the Ladytron-like electronica that characterised their debut, giving more exposure to Emily Haines’ guileful songwriting - which surfaces early in their set via the melancholy ’Poster Of A Girl’. Haines then assumes centre stage for the more raucous new-wave of ‘Patriarch On A Vesper’, her enigmatic presence reminiscent of Debbie Harry, as her band at times recall early Blondie. After an impressive start, the performance begins to lose momentum in the mid-section and the subtleties of Haines’ songs are often lost in the electro squall surrounding them - her drawn out, cliché-ridden asides also begin to wear the patience of the crowd.
The band’s biggest hit to date, ‘Monster Hospital’ - with its huge, Clash-aping chorus (“I fought the war, but the war won”) - should have been Metric‘s saving grace. However, even this fails to provide the requisite momentum to get the set back on track, save for the frantic reaction of a few energetic die-hards pressed up close to the stage.
Finishing up with the bass-driven highlight of their first album ’Dead Disco’, Metric regain some of the excitement lacking earlier. Unfortunately it is too little too late for this performance, hopefully their upcoming support slots will lessen the expectation and allow them the opportunity to upstage their illustrious headliners.