Let the NXNE games begin!
Hello, lovelies. 30 Days Of Music will be on hiatus this week as I blog the hell out of NXNE. You remember NXNE and my ambitious plans, don’t you? I may be stricken with bronchitis, but I will not be held back from a musicgasm. No freaking way. Monday and Tuesday are warm-up days for NXNE – minimal films and performances, that sort of deal – but there’s definitely fun to be had.
Day 1: Metric @ Sugar Beach
One of the last acts to be announced this year was Metric, the deliciously synthy-pop goodness Canada has given the world of music. In celebration of the release of their fifth album Synthetica, Metric booked in with Edge 102’s Sugar Beach Sessions for a free short set to help kick off NXNE properly.
The weather took a decided down-turn in the afternoon, and even as Fearless Fred announced on the radio that the rain was holding off, it began to spit on those of us who camped hours in advance to score decent vantage points. My compadre and I improvised rain hats from reusable and plastic grocery bags and embraced the necessary life experience of a rock show in the rain. As I told him, “I sat seven hours on a sidewalk in December during a blizzard to score Our Lady Peace tickets. This is nothing!”
Despite a brief downpour of doom and steady showers thereafter, the wet feet and clothes were worth it. Treated via radio broadcast outdoors to an acoustic “Gimme Sympathy” in all of its irony, Metric greeted the waiting fans with “Artificial Nocturne” and promptly enveloped the crowd in tracks from the new album. From what I’ve picked up on social media, there’s a definite divide amongst fans as to whether this album is a good direction or not. I happen to think the new material sounded fantastic: it was crunchy in the right places, ethereal in a manner reminiscent of Fantasies with a taste of Old World Underground in the mix. I’m not certain what the dissenters are looking for; this album is Metric through and through. “Youth Without Youth”, title track “Synthetica” and “Nothing But Time” were particularly stellar.
Prowling the stage as per custom, frontwoman Emily Haines danced, shook and growled her way through seven songs, going for gusto on set closer “Monster Hospital” (my favourite track, as cliché as that is). The energy was strong, albeit a bit muted given the crammed quarters and chill in the air. The crowd was enthusiastic, showering the group with love as Haines admitted she was rather emotional given the new release. The passion for the material was apparent, although the mix left a bit to be desired as Haines’ vocals were muddied by the bass in places.
The sound quality was surprisingly good given the setting. This was my first trek out to Sugar Beach for a set and it won’t be the last. The perches provided via the eyesore striped rocks are welcomed by those like me who struggle with chronic pain and prolonged standing. Kudos, Edge!
All in all, a short but sweet way to kick off the week! Check out my “dodging waving arms like whoa while perched on a slanted rock” photos at my Flickr.
Setlist: Metric @ Sugar Beach, Toronto 6/11/12
Youth Without Youth
Speed The Collapse
Nothing But Time
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