Metric Stitches Up a Half-Goat/Half-Seacrest at the Monster Hospital in Miami, September 28

Photo by Maureen Roxanny
With Half Moon Run
Fillmore Miami Beach
Friday, September 28, 2012

Better Than: Ugly people playing boring music badly.

The last time Metric played in Miami, it was at an outdoor show on the beach during Art Basel. Paired with the band's outsized sound were exceptionally large easy chairs and hammocks that could hold a dozen people each.

See also:
-Concert Review: Metric at Art Basel Miami Beach's Art Loves Music
-The 27-photo slideshow from Metric's 2010 Art Basel performance
-Metric Releases New Single and Announces Miami Show at the Fillmore

Though Crossfade maintains that this is the appropriate size for all hammocks and that the single-person models are way undersized, being swallowed up gave concertgoers a feeling of being dwarfed by Emily Haines and company's massive sound.

Over the weekend at the Fillmore Miami Beach, Haines and Metric returned to South Beach in support of this summer's synth-bashing Synthetica album. It was from this album that nearly half the set list came. And why not? This, their fifth album, is possibly their best and certainly their most consistent.

Photo by Maureen Roxanny

Metric found a way to link their earlier guitar-driven songs with the new ones (which sometimes required three of the four band members on keyboards at once). Their songs have long felt like frantic dispatches from the near future and on their current tour, they are gleefully rebelling against a perceived dystopia of the banal.

Over a decade into Metric's existence, frontwoman Emily Haines still dazzles. Even if her bandmates have begun to show the wear of years on the road, she still looks like a plucky grad student who has just stepped out of the shower to walk into a surprise party thrown in her honor. She often dances in place while playing her keyboards, although "dances" feels less apt than "pantomimes leading a spin class." It was nine years ago that they first released "Dead Disco" on Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? but she's still finding the joy in that "la la la la la la la la la la" refrain.

"You make your own night," she said during the encore. "And right now, you are making this the best show." Platitudes from a touring musician, perhaps, but it felt genuine. Haines's enthusiasm is nothing if not infectious and the energy crackled in the room the way we all hope it will when we plonk down a few hours' wages for a concert ticket.

Photo by Maureen Roxanny

Visually, the band was backed up by a lighting show that at times looked like a spasmodic Ms. Pacman game. But it could also be timed, say, to the drum snaps during "Sick Muse." Haines bounced around the stage in a leather jacket with strands swinging from the back, looking like she'd just barely escaped an attack by highwaymen armed with Silly String. As she sang "Help! I'm Alive," Haines beat a fist in the air in time with the "Beating like a hammer/Beating like a hammer" pre-chorus. And while that technique did not inspire confidence in her carpentry skills, it was spot-on in terms of getting the crowd to follow suit.

A side note: The tendency these days is to want our entertainers to do everything - sing, dance, act, judge reality shows. It's nice to see a band that is willing to focus on the music and leave the furniture building to someone else.

The first four songs of the night replicated the chilly, distant feel of the new album. But when Metric's guitars were unleashed on "Empty," the Fillmore bore witness to some of the hardest tambourine-led head banging since Davy Jones and Dimebag Darrell started duetting in hell. From there, with the exception of a pair of the livelier cuts from Synthetica, the band kept to some of the bigger crowd-pleasers from their back catalogue. This peaked with their Jock Jam-iest moment as a band, set-closer "Stadium Love" from Fantasies.

Photo by Maureen Roxanny

Metric's arrangements are intricate and precise. But their attention to detail was best embodied by a pioneering new development during the break after the main set. As soon as the band left the stage, the lighting set up that had been behind them turned into a large digital clock, counting down two minutes.

What would happen in two minutes? When Girl Talk played the Fillmore, he found excuses to drop everything imaginable from the ceiling: balloons, confetti, bubbles. Would the hyper-literate Metric drop dictionaries? With a minute left, the concerned were covering their heads and the oddest in the crowd stretched their arms toward the spaceship they expected to appear and carry them off into the heavens. The last three seconds were counted off by the audience and the band rushed back onto the stage. An encore!

Location Info


The Fillmore Miami Beach

1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Music

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Metric With Half Moon Run Fillmore Miami Beach Friday, September 28, 2012 Better Than: Ugly people playing boring music badly. The last time Metric played in Miami, it was at an outdoor show on the beach during Art Basel. Paired with their outsized sound

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