Metric Had Hearts Beating For More At The Palladium There Is No Doubt When Metric Takes The Stage
HOLLYWOOD, CA- On Wednesday March 6th, 2019, the inimitable Canadian indie rock band Metric rolled into town, bringing their infectious rocksynth sounds to the legendary Hollywood Palladium. The band, who are touring in support of their latest album The Art of Doubt, have been one of my favorite bands to see live for years now, and this would mark my third time seeing them at the Palladium. Their last show in 2016 was amazing, so I knew I was in for a great time and I was especially looking forward to hearing some of the new tracks live. I was also interested to see how the show’s turnout would be since it has been billed as a co-headlining tour with Grammy award winning Mexican rock band Zoé. I am not super familiar with Zoé, but I know that they are native favorites and much like Metric, have been doing their thing for over 20 years now, so I was excited to finally take in one of their shows.
I was also excited about the opening act on the bill, fellow Canadian rockers, July Talk, whom I’d also heard amazing things about, but had yet to experience live. Boy, was I in for a treat.
July Talk got the night started off with a bang. Though the venue was only a third full at the time (what a shame!), the band could not have given two shits and played as if they were rocking out to a stadium crowd. I immediately knew this band was my kind of jam from the moment they unleashed into their first song of the night, “Summer Dress” from their 2015 self titled album. Their energy from the get go was explosive! And I was all in, totally captivated!
Co-lead singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay have a crazy cool chemistry on stage, making their show a blast to take in. The duo’s vocal styles are completely dissimilar, but the contrast is a wonderfully riveting contrast that just works so damn well. Dreimanis has a deep, gritty voice that brings out the angst in the lyrics and just when you think you’re listening to another typical angry rock band, the counter balance of Fay’s soft and sultry tone kicks in and lightens up all the heaviness. While Dreimanis growled out and took turns slaying on the guitar and synths, Fay flirtatiously danced around the stage, playfully engaging the crowd and band members. The duo’s synergy was consummate as they sang right into each others faces with passion, exchanging verses. Watching this band perform was a complete experience. We all love to pigeon hole bands and make comparisons, and sure there are plenty to be made- Dremainis has a very Nick Cave/Tom Waits vibe and I have heard others say they are reminiscent of Arcade Fire- sure, sure, I can hear all that, but July Talk still manages to make their sound unique. It’s in your face, rock and roll heaven mixed with hints of blues and synth pop- I know, sounds weird but trust me, it’s fucking awesome!
During their third song, “Now I Know”, Fay hopped off stage and performed the song while walking along the barricade just above the crowd. The barricade has a width of maybe two-three inches, so my first thought was, “This chick is nuts, what if she falls? Should I set myself up to catch her?? My second thought was, “Damn this chick is a BAD ASS!” and my third thought was, “Wow, she’s strong and her balance is incredible, she must do a lot of yoga.” But by the end of the song I knew if I had to choose one of my thoughts to describe her, the second would be most accurate: Leah Fay is one bad ass! And so fun to watch! And thankfully, she made it back to the stage safe and sound to continue the rest of the killer set.
The duo, along with fellow band members Ian Docherty (guitar), Josh Warburton (bass) and Danny Miles (drums), delivered a performance that did not scream out “opening band” at all. And such would not be the case back home in Canada, where they have topped the charts and won awards (in 2015 they won the Juno award for Best Alternative Album,) but simply judging them by this performance, I think they are well on their way to garnering the kind of global acclaim that they deserve.
Their set included performances of “Guns and Ammunition”, “Beck and Call”, and “Picturing Love”. They ended their set with “Push and Pull”, and the dark underlying disco beat had the crowd dancing along. July Talk really wowed me and it was the first time in a long time that I wished the opening band had had a longer set. If you haven’t heard of July Talk, I suggest jumping on the bandwagon now! This band is fire!
Up next was Mexican rock band Zoé. Looking around the venue, it was clear why this was a co-headlining tour. Zoé has a ton of dedicated LA fans and they came out in droves to support the band. I think it would be safe to say that the crowd was just as much there for Zoé as they were for Metric. The floor was packed, and eager fans cheered loudly in anticipation, awaiting their beloved band.
Zoé took the stage to deafening squeals and cheers. Girls in the front row were losing their minds. Leon Larreegui, Zoé’s lead singer, wearing a colorful, traditional Mexican poncho, walked out, cool and collected, and took center stage. The band kicked their set off with “No Hay Mal Que Dure” from their latest album, last year’s Aztlan, which won the Grammy award for Best Latin Rock Album. The opening synths instantly got my 80’s loving heart pumping.
It didn’t matter much that I couldn’t understand all of the lyrics. I was digging the vibe right away. I was especially curious to transcribe the lyrics when I caught that the last line of the song sings out ‘Chinga Tu Madre.’ Now, I may not be fluent in Spanish, but I knew that those are some harsh words. I later read that ‘No Hay Mal Que Dure’ is a Mexican saying that translates to something along the lines of ‘no evil lasts forever.’ Perhaps this sentiment was written in reference to the current political climate…
Zoé kept the party going playing tracks from their older albums including “10 A.M.”, “Fin De Semana”, “Poli, Via Latea”, and “No Me Destruyas”. The crowd because very excited when the opening keys of “Labios Rotos” (song which won a Latin Grammy for Best Rock Song in 2011) began playing. With each song played, I could hear the reason for this ban’d long standing success . These guys are super talented and put on a great show.
I did notice that a lot of the psychedelic guitar riffs unleashed by Zoé’s amazing guitarist, Sergio Acosta, brought to mind some of my favorite New Wave bands such as The Cure and The Smiths. To me, being compared to these bands’ musical stylings is a compliment, so needless to say, I was into it. The rest of the band, including Angel Mosqueda (bass), Jesus Baez (keys) and Rodrigo Guardiola (drums) were equally impressive and really brought the set to life. The excellent musicianship mixed with an array of funky technicolor strobes and trippy screen graphics made the performance a unique experience and the energy of the crowd was off the charts.
Zoe played a number of songs from their latest album including “Azul”, “Temor Y Temblor” and “Renacer”. They also played the moody track “Hielo”, which I found myself particularly fond of with its dark, synth wave approach and a chorus line “Ponle Hielo a tu corazon/ put ice on your heart.” Zoe ended their set playing two older songs, “Sone” and the upbeat fan favorite “Love”, both from 2003’s Rocanlover. “Love” was the perfect song choice to end the set, as you could absolutely feel the love the fans had for the band and I can’t blame them, Zoe is a totally compelling band to watch!
Finally, it was time for Metric. The quartet took the stage in the dark and got the party started right away. Emily Haines began singing the opening ‘La la la’s’ of “Love You Back”, and the crowd went wild. The guitars kicked in, the lights raised and the band got to rocking like only they can do. It really was a perfect way to kick off the set. The song from their latest release The Art of Doubt is a super catchy jam that’s impossible to not dance along to. The stage lighting was awesome too- it switched from dark and moody, to flashes of neon stripes against a black screen that gave the stage a sci-fi type of feeling, like a scene from Tron, which seemed fitting because I can totally imagine Metric’s music as the soundtrack in a fantasy film. And much like a sci-fi film, Metric took the crowd on an adventure for the next 90 minutes.
They kept the energy high with the fast paced Synthetica from the 2012 album of the same name. The crowd was really set in motion now, singing and dancing right along. Ms. Haines, along with fellow members James Shaw (guitar), Joshua Winstead (bass), and Joules Scott-Key (drums) are solid performers and each stand out in their own way. Haines does a great job taking the reins as front person and is electrifying to watch. She jumps, dances, and bounces around the stage with such a sweet presence that just makes you smile. Even when she’s hitting the keys, she keeps up head banging and dancing right along. I was in awe of how much energy she had and was still able to sing so well…which, can we talk about her voice for a minute? Wow! It’s so precise and crystalline and her range is truly impressive.
The band continued to deliver a spectacular set, mostly focusing on songs from the new album, including “Risk”, “Dressed to Suppress”, “Seven Rules”, “No Lights on the Horizon” and the title track “Art of Doubt.” “Art of Doubt” was one of my favorite songs on the album, and hearing it live was even better. Haines shines on this song, as it really shows the depths of her talent as a vocalist. She transitions from soft sweet tones, to seething lows, to bellowing shouts and each sound like perfection. It cannot be an easy song to sing and she nailed it live! Hell Yeah!
Metric, of course, took time to please the fans and played a handful of songs off their previous albums. “Breathing Underwater”, “Black Sheep” and “Gold Guns Girls” were all crowd pleasers. Towards the end of the set Haines got the audience involved in choosing what song they would play next by asking, “Do we go back old world and do “Dead Disco” right? That whole thing, right? Or do we go Fantasies… butterflies, optimism, and do “Gimme Sympathy”? It’s tricky, it’s tricky… So let’s vote…”
The crowd cheered slightly louder for “Gimme Sympathy” so they obliged but much to the crowd’s delight, after the song ended Haines said,”Fuck it, we’re playing both” and dove right into the most old school song of the night, “Dead Disco”. The crowd could not have been happier.
The night ended with a triple encore that included two more new songs, “Dark Saturday” and “Now or Never Now” followed by undoubtedly their most popular song “Help I’m Alive”. Metric definitely had everyone feeling alive and our hearts were beating for more.