Lively indie rockers convert mostly adolescent crowd to the Metric system

By Oliver Mosier

At each concert I attend, I take note of the particular demographic of the show. Typically, college students dying to attain true indie street cred dominate shows in the indie-rock vein. But during Metric’s performance at the Metro on April 10, I felt like I was back in eighth grade, going to the teen center in my middle school cafeteria, drinking punch and listening to Vitamin C. I’d estimate that 60 percent of the audience was teenage girls. I thought that was an awfully high percentage for a school night. But it is more likely that I no longer have any feel for the zeitgeist of 21st century female adolescents.

Apparently, there were two opening acts: From Fiction and the Elected. Well, we missed From Fiction, but after visiting their website, all I have are three words: blessing in disguise.

The Elected are a California quartet that I previously saw at the Stars concert at the Metro in mid-February. All in all, the set was better than the one that preceded Stars. They played songs from their new album, Sun, Sun, Sun. The lead singer, Blake Sennett, has a rather interesting past. Prior to becoming a musician in Rilo Kiley and the Elected, he dabbled in child acting. Some of you may remember him as Joey Epstein on Boy Meets World and the lovable but annoying Ronnie Pinsky on Nickelodeon’s Salute Your Shorts. Despite this, the Elected’s set did not include any tunes sung around the countless campfires at Camp Anawanna.

Metric is another indie rock act hailing from north of the border, led by singer Emily Haines, who has appeared alongside Broken Social Scene, Stars, and Jason Collett. Haines sings and, at times, plays keyboards. Guitarist James Shaw, bassist Josh Winstead, and drummer Joules Scott-Key back her. The show was dominated by flashing lights and uninhibited energy.

The Metro’s layout is tailored to Metric’s type of raw passion. The intimate concert hall forms an indelible connection between the musicians and the audience. The band mostly played songs off of their October 2005 release, Live It Out. (Their most memorable song remains “Combat Baby,” the single from their 2003 debut, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?) Other songs included “Poster of a Girl” and “Monster Hospital,” with its odd chorus, “I fought the war/ And the war won.”

In the middle part of Metric’s performance, my friend Augie and I decided to see what newfound perspective could be gained from traveling to the second-level balcony at the Metro. The conversations up there ran the gamut. Some spoke of the music, the sound, and the energy. Others chose a much more superficial path. Much to the dismay of middle-aged chaperoning mothers, two college guys argued over the breast size of Emily Haines. I guess the music was not engrossing enough for them.

Nevertheless, the music did engross Augie and me; we saw Haines’s kicking and screaming as evidence of a great live show. Her onstage ferocity engaged much of the audience through the show. Upon seeing the care taken by Haines and the rest of the band, one could not help but get caught up in the exhilaration of the moment. The whole Metro was caught up in the passion of Metric, and they did not have to wait very long for an encore.

Metric played a concert with enthusiasm and it allowed one to overlook many of the flaws on their 2005 album. Haines’s presence compensated for the problems on Live It Out. This concert gives hope that Metric is capable of guiding such emotion in the right direction for their next release. With bright lights, sweat, and rhythm, Metric illuminated the Metro.