Like all good progressive bands, Metric have a hugely broad range of sounds to draw on from their discography. None of their albums sounds quite like the one before it, and their live show is an odyssey through the different shades on their sonic palette.
Their setlist is a fairly comprehensive retrospective, as well as a showcase for tracks from their latest release Pagans in Vegas. They follow the standard pattern of alternating the new tracks with old favourites, but the diversity of Metric’s repertoire is striking and not unwelcome. Newer songs like ‘Lie Lie Lie’ and ‘Cascades’ are distinctly electropop, compared to the smart pop-punk of ‘Monster Hospital’ and the euphoric prog shades in ‘Synthetica’.
Metric know how to put on a show. They’ve brought their impressive lighting rig to the UK with them – an LED pyramid at the rear of the stage supplemented with prog rock smoke machines. It’s atmospheric, intense and it punctuates the music perfectly.
There aren’t many gigs that would give you good reason to take a welding mask but Metric’s powerful array of spotlights come close. Not that it’s unpleasant, but it is extreme.
Not content to hide amongst the smoke and lights, frontwoman Emily Haines frequently makes herself part of the lighting displays. Several times during the set, she emerged in a different marvel of costume engineering, including what I can only describe as ‘cyborg peacock’ and ‘neon gossamer’. When not wearing a feat of electronic engineering, Haines struts and stomps her way around the stage, occasionally taking microphone in hand as she parallels her own voice with synthesizer lines.
Metric’s live sound is rich and varied. The visual spectacle they bring makes them seem fantastic and futuristic while the earthiness of the songs and lyrics keeps the feeling grounded and real.