Metric - The Forum, Melbourne

Written by Brendan Bale

Metric - The Forum, Melbourne

An eclectic mix of excited concert-goers patiently lined up on the Flinders St pavement before flooding into The Forum. The diverse crowd reflected the hard-to-peg genres that Metric so effortlessly inhabit. The Forum was populated strictly by Metric die-hards, who came out to support their beloved Canadian dance-rock group on a cool summer’s night.

Added at the last minute, Sydney psych-rock duo, Spirit Valley, got the concert off to a rocky start–in a good way. The shaggy Dave Spirit and Chris Valley shared their loud, brash and infectious brand of rock, setting the scene for some serious instrument-thrashing throughout the night. They were followed by fellow Sydney-siders, Glass Towers, who took the stage as fans eagerly awaited the arrival of Metric. The former Byron Bay locals showed off their muscular use of guitars and drums in their indie-tinged garage exploits, Tonight, Jumanji, and Foreign Time.

The multiple Juno Award-winning dance rockers then took the stage and quickly whipped the crowd into a frenzy before luring them into a state of trance. The crowd was taken on an emotional journey by-way-of synths, drums and guitars, striking them mesmerised, transfixed. The band united the crowd as a swaying, bopping mass.

The city had been soaked earlier in the day, but emotions in The Forum were far from dampened. The four-piece band, fronted by the formidable Emily Haines, captivated the loyal and appreciative crowd. As someone with a casual interest in the band, I was instantly impressed with their stage presence as they powered through a set of non-stop crowd-pleasers. Even appearing on the soundtrack to a Twilight film can’t strip this band of their effortless and eminent cool.

Their singles Help, I’m Alive, Youth Without Youth, and Synthetica, as well as Jimmy Shaw‘s guitar solo in Gold Guns Girls, made a monstrous impact. But the most emotion-wringing moment came when Emily implored the crowd to sing along to Glass Ceiling. “Every speed on our knees is crawling“, rang throughout the theatre, as the audience became one.

No shrinking violet, Emily commanded the attention of fans throughout the show. Wearing a black leather jacket with 70s inspired gold frill detail, a black buttoned-up shirt and black hot-pants, the crowd remained captivated by the rock goddess and her band. Having previously opened for industry elites like The Rolling Stones and Muse, Metric are now a talent to behold in their own right.

With longevity and success comes confidence, which manifested itself in Emily’s political commentary during the show, such as before the band’s rendition of The Police and The Private. Moments such as this point to deeper vibrations in Metric’s music that manage to flow through the band’s lyrics. Before the performance of Breathing Underwater, Emily dictated a band philosophy to the crowd.

“Over the years we’ve grown pretty used to feeling like aliens,” she said in a soft, raspy voice. “But the good thing is, the world is full of people just like us.” At the end, the crowd filed out satiated, myself included. I was left with a sense of wonder as to what Metric’s next musical direction may be. In the hands of these self-described “aliens,” the possibilities seem limitless.

(Photo by Jodie Meier)


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