[LIVE REVIEW] Metric at The Tabernacle, 10/28/2010

More pictures and some thoughts after the jump.

Metric know what they’re doing, and they ought to – bandleaders Emily Haines and James Shaw have been at this for more than a decade.  I think that qualifies them as veterans, and their show at Atlanta’s Tabernacle on Thursday night was definitely a veteran performance.  They hit all the right notes with energy, and they look damn comfortable doing it.  Again, that comfort is well-earned.  They’ve been playing large stages for awhile now, both on their own and at festivals, and they’re currently in the midst of a tour with arena-rockers Muse, with solo dates scheduled on that tour’s off nights.  That’s not even their highest profile opening gig, either:  this is a band that has opened for the Rolling Stones.

Luckily, they’ve avoided going down the sleek, soulless path that can sometimes happen when a band reaches this point in its career. Last year’s Fantasies contains some of the best material they’ve put out since their 2003 highpoint Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, and the band seemed genuinely enthused to be playing for a large club crowd at 9:15 on a Thursday night. Haines rarely stopped moving during the 75 minute set, most of which came from Fantasies, an emphasis that the crowd didn’t seem to mind. New songs like “Help, I’m Alive” and “Sick Muse” went over almost as well as old favorites like “Dead Disco.” The band was putting out energy, and the crowd was mostly giving it back.

The best moment came last, when Haines and Shaw came to the front of the stage during the second song of the encore and performed an acoustic version of “Combat Baby.” This wasn’t much of a surprise, as it’s something they’ve been doing regularly since this summer, but it was still great for a couple of reasons. First, “Combat Baby” is their best song, and it’s awesome to see the band treating it as such. Second, the band’s recent willingness to explore their unplugged side has been unexpectedly great.

I had the opportunity to see Haines and Shaw play a small acoustic show at Brooklyn’s Union Pool a couple of years ago. They had just finished mixing Fantasies, which they played in sequence, with just Shaw on acoustic guitar and Haines occasionally on piano. When they strip down, it casts them in totally different, but equally flattering, light. It shows that there’s real songcraft underneath the large scale synth-rockers found on the albums. They seem to have developed a fondness for going acoustic, too, having released acoustic versions of Fantasies tracks on an EP since then, plus the inclusion of unplugged “Combat Baby” into their encores.

The crowd clearly wanted more, but that was the end. The house lights came up, and the band left the stage. Maybe a few more songs would have been nice, but it’s hard to complain when a band goes out on such a high note.

    • springwardrobe
    • November 1st, 2010


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