All entries for Friday 03 July 2009

July 03, 2009

Music Resolution 2009 – Metric, Manchester Academy 3, 11th May

Join me and my New Year’s Resolution to go to at least one gig every month of 2009.

Does going to a gig on your own make you a loser? No, of course not. It is a pure declaration of love for music that one is willing to be that Billy No Mates. Of course, it is instantly more respectable if one makes random gig friends in the course of one’s solo adventure, and where is better to make friends that the queue for the merch stall? After all, in an era where downloads and the nature of record deals mean only a tiny, and usually Bono-shaped, minority of bands make any money from something so vulgar as CDs, buying merch is one of the best declarations of intent towards a band. Yes, it says, I will wear your shameless advertising to show my love. Your face, my chest. They were meant to be together.

I’m talking about teeshirts, right?!


A Metric teeshirt.

And it was as witness to the unusual sight of the male half of a couple dilly-dallying over a garment, whilst the female half held onto a beer for dear life, I met my random gig buddies. It turned out Mr GB was the Metric fan, Miss GB had come along because, well, it was something to do and Mr GB really wanted to go. Neither of them expected to make a random gig buddy (why would they when they had each other?) but when I turn on my waif and stray look, I can get adopted by even the flintiest hearted gig goer (this theory has not been tested at an Oasis gig, and hopefully never ever will).

Now the second stage of the plan was less succesful. Granted, the second stage of the plan was not fully formed until halfway through the gig, but it was a simple idea with a not-so-simple execution, to wit, run away and join Metric.

It’s entirely possible to love a band and not want to run away and join them. The list of bands I’ve wanted to run away and join is very small. There are always practicalities. I wouldn’t run away and join Muse because I am not good enough at any instrument. I wouldn’t run away and join Crystal Castles because I value my personal safety. I wouldn’t run away and join Elastica because they split up eight years ago, and besides, heroin just isn’t as appealing as Toberlone. So there remains a tiny rump of bands I would join. Prior to this gig I had a year long desire to learn Portugese and sod off to join those masters of the not-quite-proficient instrument playing, CSS. But no longer.

Nope, nowadays I plot my journey to Metric, like a loser with six inch ruler, dreaming of 15cm.

But why? Well, why not? And besides, Emily Haines, Metric’s vocalist and sometime keyboardist, probably managed to persuade most if not all of the audience to share this dream with me. When she introduced ‘Gimme Sympathy’, the highlight of new album Fantasies, she opted to highlight the choruses query “Who’d you rather be/The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?” before answering that she’d say neither, she wanted to be in Metric. It was only about 55% vomit inducing, a much lower percentage than you would expect.

randoms 5
A crap photo of Metric, showing the sun shining out of their… places where sun shines normally. Ahem.

Haines is a top class front woman. She has charisma, a tendency to waffle the most endearing crap (including, but not limited to, a hilarious meandering rumination on taking magic mushrooms, punctuated regularly be completely unconvincing denials of ever having touched said fungi or having encouraged anyone to use them) and doesn’t seem to realise that sometimes a singer can stay still. Neck threatening headbanging on ‘Hand$hakes’, jumping around on multiple tracks (risky, the Academy 3 has a very low ceiling), stalking the stage endlessly. The set was very very heavy on the new album, all bar four tacks coming from this sleek but engaging lesson in classy indie. The occasional addition guitar solo or extended outro give the crowd something new, but a Metric gig these days is a masterclass in making the efficient exciting.

Starting on a slowie is something only a band full of confidence would do, so its a good thing it is justified. The slow start builds expectation, rather than testing the audience’s patience. As does the decision to make the set Fantasies-heavy. For Miss GB it didn’t matter that she barely knew the band at all, by the end she was insisting to Mr GB and myself that we were heading back to where it all began between us, the merch stall, to buy her a copy of Fantasies for her car. She also agreed that if we hadn’t had jobs to go to the next day we would be spending the rest of the night trying to smuggle ourselves aboard Metric’s tourbus.

And why not. You’ll only end up a Billy No Mates if you don’t go out there and meet people. Book me a spot on the bus, Emily!


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