Canadian indie group Metric has a rabid following in their home country but has found themselves an unlikely fan base here in Miami. Including Thursday night’s performance at the Fillmore in Miami Beach, the band has played Miami three times in less than a year with a fourth performance with Paramore and Hellogoodbye coming in November. The band is known for its synth-laced alternative rock paired with gloom sung by lead singer Emily Haines; the band’s sound is far removed from the self-celebratory pop acts and DJs that pepper Miami’s music scene.
Despite a smaller crowd than at their past shows, Metric performed in front of potentially their biggest crowd yet because their concert was streamed live from the Fillmore as part of Bud Light’s 50/50/1 tour. The band kicked off their set with a quartet of songs from their latest album Synthetica. Most effective of these songs was “Youth Without Youth,” a thumping track with dance-rock sensibilities and mordant lyrics about childhood games gone deadly. The band gave a heavily modified extended version of their song “Dreams So Real” with glistening guitar riffs and silky synthesizers layered over Haines’ call to “shut up and carry on.”
Haines has a stunning stage presence; her gamine demeanor fits well with the band’s more violent songs like “Empty,” which featured her playing the tambourine with an intensity that rivaled the furious riffs coming from guitarist Jimmy Shaw. The singer brought the necessary determination to the song “Help I’m Alive,” where she thumped her feet with conviction as she sang about her heart beating like a hammer. “Dead Disco” saw the singer transform herself into a rocker with lust for blood, eyes bulging as she thrashed around the stage. Despite shouting lyrics about the death of rock ‘n’ roll, it was clear by the band’s dedication to the material that rock was alive and well.
For the encore, the band first tore through their rendition of “Gold Gun Girls,” which saw Haines shredding her guitar and jumping on stage as the crowd roared for her. They ended their set with an acoustic slow-tempoed version of their single “Gimme Sympathy” that actually improves on its faster, rock-driven counterpart so much that it’s surprising that the band did not conceive the acoustic version first. The self-reflective song had Haines (as well as a huge chorus of fans) asking the question “After all of this is gone/ Who’d you rather be?/The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?” While Metric is neither the Beatles nor the Rolling Stones, they proved they can stand out on their own.