Emily Haines fronts Metric at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Oct. 22, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
With a tribal drum roll, Toronto New Wave quartet Metric took the stage in darkness to being their recent show at The Fillmore Silver Spring. The lights slowly came up as front woman Emily Haines cooed the words to “Doomscroller,” a song from the band’s new album, Formentera.
Doomscroller, of course, is a word coined for our times to refer to endlessly looping through bad news stories in a hyperaware 24/7 clickbait media environment. The song, which lends its title to the current Metric tour, is a fantastic earworm that ensnares you and won’t let go, particularly with its emphatic refrain — “Don’t give up yet, don’t give up yet.”
Before too long, the song took a disco turn, and Metric played to their strengths at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Oct. 22. What distinguished Metric, as always, was their remarkable versatility. Emily moved from occupying center stage to a synthesizer, where she sounded a soothing alarm of cascading beats. She then moved to a keyboard on her left to slow the song down with a spare but melodic slow dance.
This sort of instrument exchange occurred often throughout the show. Not only did Emily often switch up instruments, but guitarist Jimmy Shaw, Emily’s chief collaborator, also frequently took up a synth and bassist Joshua Winstead, who let his funky side suavely show this night, moved to keyboards when a song demanded it. Only the formidable Joules Scott-Key stayed in one fixed place at the drums.
Formentera is Metric’s eighth album and prime evidence of why I love this band so much. Every time I believe they have reached a creative zenith, and one could certainly argue that they did so with fourth studio album Fantasies in 2009, the foursome surprise me again with highly intelligent songs that hook you and keep you inside them. Formentera, named after a real place, was crafted during the pandemic lockdowns, when even real places seemed imaginary because they were so unobtainable. The conceit struck me to the core, and the resulting album was so alluring, so seductive, and so good that I once again was endlessly charmed by Metric’s cleverness.
Metric performed six of the new record’s tunes throughout the show, including “What Feels Like Eternity” in the encore. “What Feels Like Eternity” was another winner, a great start to the four-song encore with a smashing drop beat right before the one minute mark.
Watch the official music video for “What Feels Like Eternity” by Metric on YouTube:
Throughout the show, Metric’s other four new selections included “False Dichotomy,” an dazzling in-your-face mix of guitars and synths; “Formentera,” a sultry seducer that makes great use of Emily’s mezzo-soprano; “Enemies of the Ocean,” a thoughtful song about “coming to terms with where you are now,” according to Jimmy; and “All Comes Crashing,” Formentera’s lead single and first Metric song to break the Top 10 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Airplay chart.
Metric started “All Come Crashing” with the three standing members of the band all at keyboard stations, and it was a slow burner that broke out into a slow groove when Metric made a trademark beat drop and shifted the song into high gear. Emily delivered the song with a punchy dance and her bandmates swayed in time.
As mentioned earlier, Metric’s Fantasies album remains a critical- and fan-favorite, and the band happily returned to five of its numbers at The Fillmore Silver Spring. Early in the show, Metric kept us dancing with the irresistible “Gold Guns Girls,” and the quartet beguiled us with the existential “Help I’m Alive,” always a terrific number. Around the middle of the show, Metric injected the glammy “Sick Muse,” a buoyant polemic against Cupid and falling in love.
Watch the official music video for “Sick Muse” by Metric on YouTube:
Right before “Sick Muse,” Metric once again delighted with a signature acoustic interlude, where only Emily and Jimmy stood on stage to render Fantasies’ “Twilight Galaxy” and debut album Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?’s “Combat Baby,” a clever fight song that truly endures throughout the years — and somehow always gets better? Together, the two songs were a sweet palette-cleanser prior to more indie disco action.
And of course, in the encore, Metric performed “Black Sheep,” their famed contribution to the soundtrack of the comic book movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Undoubtedly, many people in the super sold-out room where there at the very least to hear that very song, and Metric did not disappoint them, blowing the song up into a fully realized raver! It’s chunky glam drums were as intoxicating as ever, and the band truly came together as one for a moment that really called for a slam dance. (Thankfully, no one did such a thing.)
All in all, Metric demonstrated great chemistry within the band and with the audience throughout the night. Emily, with her movie star looks, was radiant and seemed to love every minute of being on stage. Jimmy, playing a sort of Canadian cowboy, was more subdued, but broke out in smiles at moments where the band realized its total genius. Josh and Joules were a powerful rhythm section, and they were so confident and loose. Emily rounded the stage throughout the night to sing or play instruments alongside all of her bandmates, and they frankly shined as a group.
Metric conclude The USA Doomscroller Tour tonight in Brooklyn before embarking to Europe next year. But make it a priority to see this always impressive act whenever you can!
Here are some photos of Metric performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Oct. 22, 2022. All pictures by Mickey McCarter.