At the Malkin Bowl on Saturday, June 12
Make no mistake. Metric’s Emily Haines has a decent set of pegs and she’s not afraid to use them. And she does it with such unprecedented empowered hipster attitude; the leggy lead singer may just have invented a new subgenre of music: gam rock.
Of course, the confident synth siren has always had a healthy sense of sexual self on-stage—even back in day when the Toronto-based performer and her band of new wave indie rockers were just starting out and opening up for the likes of Modest Mouse in cramped but legendary venues back east.
The Hogtown hottie’s just never been one to shake her money-maker like an exploited prefab, “oops forgot to wear my ginch” major-label victim. She’s always done it with a ballsy individualistic flair that, if anything, only compliments her artistic cred.
It’s as though with every performance, the genre-flexing front(wo)man is saying in her own soft and sweet, fuck me gently, feminist way, “Yes, I’m punk and poppy at the same time. I’m also talented, in charge, and sexy, so deal”¦please.” (She is Canadian, after all.)
And as added bonus, unlike with her musical contemporaries—namely, Karen O—you don’t get the feeling that off-stage she’s a juvenile, emotional train wreck. Haines might just be stable enough, down-to-earth enough, and engaging enough to hang out with in a non-schmoozy social sitch. But who knows, right?
Point being, now that her group has four solid albums to its credit, Haines has really come into her own as unapologetically sexy, swaggering rock star. It’s no longer a matter of whether or not she’ll own the stage in something shiny and mini, but rather how shiny and mini she’ll go when she does it.
Well, I’m happy to report that she went very short and very shimmery at the Malkin Bowl on Saturday, when Metric played its first of two back-to-back concerts.
Kicking off a picture-perfect night in Stanley Park (knock on wood, summer is here!), Metric lunged into “Twilight Galaxy” from its 2009 release, Fantasies. Sporting a glitzy black micro-mini and a fitted biker jacket, Haines started out somewhat unassumingly at her front-and-centre musical space station, but it didn’t take her long to come out and start doing her signature punk-rock, bunny-hop move across the stage. Impressive for a few reasons: 1.) Her clear and dreamy vocals remained consistently smooth and authoritative throughout all her aerobic posturing. 2.) It allowed her to show off her assets with some genuine grit. And 3.) She did it all in some bunion-inducing (albeit smoking-hot) gold pumps.
As for the hits, the band’s live rendition of “Help, I’m Alive” (yet another insanely catchy song from Fantasies) did not disappoint. In fact, there were only one or two fillers in the entire set. For the most part, the sold-out crowd was happy to follow Metric’s lead. They danced joyfully on the grass underneath the clear sky when the groove called for it, then swayed sexily when Metric slowed their disco beat to a near halt as Haines brought her voice down to a whisper. And for the big punk noise explosion that seemed (perhaps a little predictably) to punctuate every song, the field of followers closest to the stage would pump their fists in the air and jump up and down.
Haines and Co. ended with a really sweet sing-along acoustic version of their 2003 single “Combat Baby”.
Overall, I’d say average ticketholders got their money’s worth. But it was the Metric fans who also happen to have leg fetishes that really came out on top on this summer’s eve.