|Emily Haines of Metric | All photos by Jason Gonulsen
“Can you hear my heart beating like a hammer?” sings Emily Haines during “Help I’m Alive.”
She’s singing while she’s pumping her shoulders and hips in unison — one side goes up, the other goes down. When she’s done doing this, she moves from one side of the stage to the other, as if she’s focused on discovering every inch of real estate that has been offered to her. Rarely does Haines stay in one place.
The songs she plays with her band, Metric, also roam — they float from one sound to the next. Guitarist Jimmy Shaw’s opening rumble on “Black Sheep” won’t be the first time we’ll hear his instrument wail — he’ll let loose again during “Breathing Underwater,” and then rip an extended solo near the end of “Gold Guns Girls.” The man can play with the best of them, and it’s always done with a cool confidence that complements his ability.
Even the little things make an impact during a Metric set. When Haines informs the crowd, “Our name is Metric,” it’s done with some sass and a hint of “we know you’ll be back” in her voice. When she brushes up against Joshua Winstead, Haines is not going through the motions — she’s almost offering a challenge for her bassist to become larger than life. And when she calls attention to drummer Joules Scott-Key, who plays a lot like Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, she does so rolling the dice with momentum, as if she expects greatness on demand.
Make no mistake, this attitude is earned. The back-to-back performances of “Youth Without Youth” and “Speed The Collapse” from their most recent album, Synthetica, suggest that Metric is either near their prime or — and I think this is more likely — in the heart of it.
Whether or not they soon explode, my simple advice is this: see this band before you die.
Youth Without Youth
Speed the Collapse
Help I’m Alive
Gold Guns Girls