Malkin Bowl, Stanley Park
June 12, 2010
By Elegwen O’Maoileoin
Photos by Mhelanni Gorre
Emily Haines loved the outdoor venue of Malkin Bowl at Stanley Park last Saturday night. She complimented her ecstatic fans at the rather small, all ages, sold-out show. Haines had just spent some time in Tofino and said that even now being on stage outside was what she loved about Vancouver: the trees, the field and the smell of the air. Wafts of smoke came from the denser parts of the crowd where security could not breach to enforce the non-smoking, non-drinking venue (where I saw many a flask was secreted away). Vancouver’s increasingly strict laws aside, there was no better time or place to witness the band Metric in all its hard-rocking danceable glory.
Metric is a Canadian comet. Like other Canadian icons who have blasted their way from the Great White North and found success in America, Metric has now done so. As I walked through the West End to Stanley Park, I stopped at a ubiquitous coffee chain for a cold beverage. If I wasn’t sure of how big Metric is becoming internationally, a CD for sale at the counter said it all: Eclipse (the new Twilight film) features a song called "Eclipse" by Metric. Track two on the soundtrack, by Muse. There you have it. It’s nice to see that the biggest film phenomenon of the last two years (and yes, it tragically is) features first, a Canadian band, and second, a British band. Despite the quality of some Hollywood films these days, it seems music directors still have the good taste to look internationally for music. And Metric is high on music lovers’ radars.
If you have seen Metric perform, you don’t need to read any further. The musicianship is impeccable, with numerous guitar changes going fairly smoothly (yep, I saw that little hiccup), and Haines’ presence and relatable attitude draws even the shyest fan out of their shell. She jumps, dances, struts and bends in near yogic maneuvers all while in high heels and a mini skirt. Throughout, her voice nails every note…like a hammer. Though born in New Delhi, India, the Ontario raised Haine’s does Canada proud. And if the Eclipse film soundtrack is an accurate gauge, then Metric will continue to impress internationally in the years to come.
One disappointment was the little used theremin on stage. If you’re going to pull it out, you really had better use it. Otherwise, musically, it’s sort of like wearing two nice watches, you only need one, but you want to show the second. Fans did approve when Haines donned a guitar for one song (something often criticized by music writers), but if I were up there with Metric, I’d probably want to rock on the guitar for a few minutes too. Rhythmically this also freed her guitarist up for a mad solo.
The sound was rocking, dancy and epic. Everyone went wild. However, it should be said. While Metric is primarily an up-beat dance rock band, Haines doesn’t avoid showing her other musical and emotional dimensions. At the end of the show, which was over by ten o’ clock, guitarist James Shaw brought out an acoustic guitar and accompanied Haines without drums and bass for a very touching, sensitive number. As she said, "I’m actually a big softy."
For you who haven’t yet heard or heard of Metric, you surely will when you go to your opening night showing of Twilight: Eclipse.