TVD Live: Metric at the Music Center at Strathmore, 9/21

Published Sept. 28, 2012 on The Vinyl District.

The pristine Music Center Strathmore took a break from its typically orchestral stylings with energetic synth-rock courtesy of Metric on September 21.

The night had a slow start, opening with low-tempo tracks from the Canadian group’s latest release Synthetica. But once “Help, I’m Alive” off 2009‘s Fantasies kicked in, the sold out crowd was on their feet.

The venue itself put Metric in an odd spot. The Strathmore was built for musical performances; the room’s acoustics were impeccable, not that seasoned performing pros Emily Haines & Co. needed the boost. Yet the clean, light-wooded, seated Music Center felt too mint and bright for the gritty, infectious electro-rock which all but requires mimicking Haines’ constant jumping and trashing.

Then again, Metric sold-out the almost 2,000 seat venue so the space’s size was necessary, especially considering the band’s history with D.C. and their affection for the 9:30 Club.

Haines didn’t seem to mind the less-than-cozy venue. “It was quite emotional,” Haines shared of first walking onto the Strathmore stage during soundcheck. “It’s exquisite in here.” Out-of-place or not, she was certainly right on that.

The extended encore was easily the best part of the evening, but the highlight of the regular set was the bass-driven banger “Dead Disco” which Metric drew-out with a toned down interlude that crashed back into the catchy-as-hell chorus.

The six-song encore opened with “Black Sheep” which showed the “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” version by Brie Larson that the original is always best. Opening band Half Moon Run joined the headliners onstage for a beautiful rendition of The Velvet Underground’s “Pale Blue Eyes.” “I really enjoyed that,” Haines smiled after the song’s end, to which the audience cheered in concurrence.

An acoustic “Gimme Sympathy” ended the encore, with the percussionists returning to stage and clapping in singing along. After a night of heavy electric guitars and bass, flashing neon lights and constant jumping, the stripped down closing songs were an unexpected and lovely way to cap the show.

“I feel like this is a really great way to spend the night,” Haines summed up. Indeed it was.

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