REVIEW: Metric at Hammerstein Ballroom

Originally published 3/14/16

Canadian indie rockers Metric took to the stage at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on 3/11 (no, 311 did not make an appearance) for their I Can See The End tour, performing a 21-song barrage of hits and new tracks for a crowd that, while not at capacity, did fill the entire general admission section all the way to the exits plus the VIP sections, for a performance complete with strobes, beach balls, balloons and audience participation.

Now, I still remember when I first heard Emily Haines and the boys in Metric, right around the time Help, I’m Alive came out as a single in late 2008. Sure, I thought it was a good song that I could crank up and listen to from time to time, never did I think I’d see them live because I just wasn’t that familiar with their other work. To say their music isn’t well circulated or mainstream would be accurate, but also a serious understatement. We don’t have a rock station here in NYC anymore, so indie and alt rock is severely underplayed and we have to resort to iHeartRadio and to hear new rock music, which means bands like Metric often fall through the cracks.

That said, it’s a shame I don’t get to hear this band more often, because they’re a lot better than I had anticipated when I arrived to a mostly empty Hammerstein Ballroom, with a small crowd awaiting Joywave’s opening performance. Metric belted out two hours worth of high energy rock, opening with IOU before going into arguably their biggest hit, Help, I’m Alive, which was followed up by Youth Without Youth. A bit later in the night, Metric went into Dreams So Real, where they brought quite a few members of the audience (I’m assuming those with VIP passes) up on stage for the song, and even had a few of them sing along into the mics. That was definitely one of the cooler moments I’ve seen at a concert, one that really pulls the audience in.

I could go on and on, just as Metric’s performance did, to the disappointment of exactly nobody. Two hours and 20 songs later, it was time for the 4th and final song of the band’s encore, Breathing Underwater. Now, somewhere in between, Emily Haines did exactly what she was supposed to do to a first timer at one of their shows: she made me fall in love with her voice, and her performance on Breathing Underwater sealed the deal for me. That’s not to say the rest of the band isn’t stellar, as James Shaw, Josh Winstead and Joules Scott-Key are all part of what made the night so entertaining. Two hours and 21 songs later, I don’t know if anyone at Hammerstein wanted to go home; I sure didn’t. Metric earned themselves a new fan Friday night, and I’ll definitely be catching them live next time they’re in town. Go see them if you have the chance.

Photo gallery below. Photos by Sean Murphy: