Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Trews @ Rio Theatre -- 11/27/09

I think I would have to say that The Trews are one of my favourite live bands. They just have a raw power and energy to them that is almost unparallelled. So when I found out they were doing both an acoustic album and supporting tour, I was equally intrigued and cautious to see how they would translate to an acoustic style. After picking up the album, I was relieved, since it was great. But even though it was a live album, I was still a little wary of the show itself. How would this band, who is so incredibly dynamic live, do acoustically?

There was no opening band, interestingly enough, and The Trews came out a little before 8. With (swivel) chair/stool-things on stage, they all sat to play making it seem like a pretty intimate show, despite being in a movie theatre (a fact that they joked about a couple times). They started the set with two of my favourite songs of theirs, Poor Ol' Broken Hearted Me and then Every Inambition. I was really glad that they did the latter, not just because of it's a fave, but because that isn't on their acoustic album, so it showed promise that a lot of older songs would be played during the set. Between just about every song, lead singer Colin MacDonald introduced them, sometimes with an amusing story. Like how their "hockey song" was dedicated to the Canucks... in Vancouver. When they were in Calgary, it was dedicated to the Flames, etc etc. After a few songs they brought out "Mr Fancy" (long story) on the accordion for a few songs, including When You Leave, which they called the "Cajun" version of the song; a really cool interpretation. Some more highlights were Yearning, which itself was was pretty great, but had an awesome "middle". Most of the song was played before everyone but the MacDonald brothers left the stage, at which point they segued into a Cat Stevens cover. Then Colin left, leaving John-Angus alone to absolutely blow everyones mind for a good 3 or 4 minutes of his incredibly amazing guitar playing. I've siad this before about him, but WOW, he is one HELL of a guitar player. Then the rest of the band came back and they finished up Yearning before closing up the first half of their set with Not Ready To Go. Not only was every person in the sold out theatre singing along to the chorus, but it included a new song called The Power Of Positive Drinking, which is exactly what it wounds like -- and just as awesome.
After a short intermission, they came back for the second half of the set, which included some more old songs, like Hollis & Morris, featuring an brilliant drum solo from Sean Dalton. They've done that in every live show before, but when you have the drummer going for a crazy solo on a single snare drum, a conga drum and what I think was a bodhrán, it makes it all the more impressive. They slipped in another cover, an Elvis Costello song, in the middle of Can't Stop Laughing. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I love it when bands slip in random cover songs in the middle of their sets, and The Trews are usualyl pretty cool about that. Each time I've seen them, they've done a few different cover songs either in whole or a single verse or chorus slipped in mid-song. Another one of my favourites, Ishmael & Maggie, was as awesome as expected and they ended the second set with Hold Me In Your Arms. They came back for the obligatory encore with current single, Sing Your Heart Out, which just about everyone in the crowd was doing for both this and another cover, this time a full song: Oh La La by Faces (it's the song that goes "I wish I knew then what I know now"). After that they switched gears a little with another new song, Highway of Heroes which was very heartfelt and actually kind of sad. They ended the set with You're So Sober and another song which I am totally blanking on.

It's been said that the mark of excellent songwriting is when you can strip a song down to its core, and it still totally works. The Trews managed to take songs from their entire catalogue and do just that, making excellent acoustic versions. I was actually kind of surprised that there was an almost equal spilt between all three albums, with their first maybe even getting the most focus. In the end, I realize it was silly to doubt The Trews on their awesomeness. The live show was still incredibly excellent; to the point where I would possibly say that both the songs and the show were as good as, if not better, than the electric version.

Setlist: (again, I seem to be missing ONE song and I can't seem to remember or figure out what it was...)
Poor Ol' Broken Hearted Me, Every Inambition, Paranoid Freak, So She's Leaving, Den of Thieves, Locked Doors, When You Leave, Travelling Kind, Yearning (w/ Where Do Children Play [Cat Stevens cover]), Not Ready To Go (w/ The Power of Positive Drinking)
Fleeting Trust, Gun Control, Hopeless, Tired of Waiting, Love You Save, Hollis & Morris, Can't Stop Laughing (w/ Next Time 'Round [Elvis Costello cover]), Man of Two Minds, Ishmael & Maggie, Hold Me In Your Arms,
Sing Your Heart Out, Oh La La (Faces cover), Highway of Heroes, You're So Sober, [mystery song]

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Said The Whale @ St James Hall -- 11/25/09

I'm not gonna lie, the first time I saw Said the Whale it was kind of a disaster. It was back in March at the Biltmore for some Olympic thingummy, and the band that was on right before them was Karkwa, who were freaking amazing; one of the best live performances I've seen all year. And not only that, but I am positive they blew a speaker. So not only did the fine folks of Said the Whale have the unenviable task of following that, but the whole set was drowned out and muddy with horrible sound. However I persevered and after I saw them at the Fusion Festival, opening for Joel Plaskett Emergency, I was a fully fledged fan. So I was looking forward to this show, to see what they could really do live, with no blown speakers and a full headlining set.

First up, though, was another talented Vancouver artists (and friend of Said The Whale) Hannah Georgas. I hadn't heard too much of her, other than a few songs on CBC Radio 3, but I had liked what I heard. After last night, I gotta say, I am officially won over. Her backing band included of Spencer Schoening and Jaycelyn Brown of Said The Whale on drums & keys, respectively, and the set was surprisingly upbeat and energetic -- I think, for some reason, I was expecting it to be lighter and softer. She had a pretty great stage presence, maintaining a nice energy both on guitar and dancing around when just singing. She played for about half an hour or so, and the highlight of the set was easily the energetic Mama's Boy, a stupendous breakup song which proclaims "I guess it's easy to get over an asshole"
I think during the set she promised/teased a new album out next year, and I can't wait for it.

As for Said The Whale, they more that matched my expectations and hopes for the show. I never really realized it before, but the band kind of reminds me of Barenaked Ladies. Not really in sound -- other than both creating insanely infection and catchy pop music, there's not much similarity -- and not just because they are [or were :( ] both five member bands. But rather in the vocal play and harmonies between Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft. Their voiced not only blend together perfectly but they also support each other perfectly when necessary. Not to mention they're pretty funny, if not in song than in on stage antics and banter. I'm not saying they're Barenaked Ladies v2.0 or anything, but there were a few things last night that made me make the connection.
They started with a cool acoustic False Creek Change with all the members singing before launching into an energetic This City's A Mess. They kept up the energy the entire set, hitting almost all off their new album but also a great selection of older songs. They had some great stage presence and banter, too. Part way through the set, a box of donuts made its way on stage which resulted in the band sharing them by tossing them into the crowd, and a fantastic set of donut-related puns. Watch out, Dan Mangan. Watch out Tariq Hussein. There may just be some new Kings of the Pun in town.
Some of the musical highlights of their set included Puddleglum, a great song about Christmas in Vancouver (and that's saying something, since I usually don't care for Christmas songs). Hannah Georgas joined them on stage for BC Orienteering -- one of my favourites -- which was nifty, since she guests on the album. Gift of a Black Heart segued perfectly into another one of my favourites, My Government Heart, which was pretty fantastic live. They ended the main set with what might be my absolute favourite Said The Whale song, Goodnight Moon. It starts out slow and sweet, but ends with some incredibly joyous rocking out, which translated absolutely amazing live on stage. Also, it's kind of funny to see a grown man rock out with a tiny ukulele. That would have been a great way to end the show there, but they popped back out after a very short "encore-interlude", probably because they were being rushed to finished, and played a some more. They ended the night in an fantastic way, first talking about how they were breaking the 10pm noise curfew (it was 10:30 at that point) and had to be quiet... which led into an unamplified version of Curse the Currents, with Ben singing at the front of the stage without a mic or anything. It was a pretty amazing sight, to see the power of his voice, and the (almost) absolute silence of the crowd to hear him. A fantastic way to end a fantastic show.

The only problem, if I may rant for a moment, had absolutely nothing to do with Said The Whale, but rather the people both behind and beside us who, through both Hannah Georgas and Said the Whale, would not SHUT. THE FUCK. UP. If you want to have a conversation, go to a bar or a restaurant or stay home. Don't come to a live show and just talk -- at a regular volume, no less -- the whole damn way through. Next time that happens I am going to have to break out the Fist of Doom and punch some throats. That'll quiet 'em up.

setlist (as best I can remember... I am pretty sure there was a song I am missing in there, but for the life of me I can't remember/figure out what it was)
False Creek Change, This City's a Mess, Love is Art/Sleep Through Fire, The Banks of the English Bay, Puddleglum, Howe Sounds, BC Orienteering, Black Day in December, Emerald AB, Island Disappear, Out on the Shield, The Gift of a Black Heart, My Government Heart, A Cold Night Close to the End, [mystery song], Camilo (The Magician), Goodnight Moon.
(encore) Holly Ontario, Dear Elkhorn, The Light is You, Curse the Currents.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

More Heart Than Brains by Bike For Three!

I consider myself to have a pretty broad taste when it comes to music. Sure, I like the indie rock the most, but I also like a selection of genres across the spectrum, and in just about any one, there'll be at least one artist I like. Or, at the very least, one I can stand. I fully admit, though, that two of my not-so-favourite genres are hip hop and electronica. However, one of the hip hop artists I do like is Canadian Buck 65. So when I heard about his new project, Bike For Three! which has him teaming up with Belgian electronica artist and producer Greetings From Tuskan, I was a little hesitant. Sceptical, even. As much as I like Buck 65, Hip hop plus electronica? That rarely comes together well. But I gave it a shot anyway, partially because I like Buck, and partially out of curiosity.

The album starts off, after the intriguing introduction track, Beginning, with three amazing songs, All There Is To Say About Love, Lazarus Phenomenon and Nightdriving. All of which hooked me instantly with insanely catchy music and excellent lyrics. They combine to what amounts to a slap in the face for me doubting them. Not to say less of the rest of the album, but these three are perfect examples of why their collaboration works so well. There Is Only One Of Us is another stellar example, with its almost surreal quality and spacey synths which start slow but ramp up to a wash of synth and electronics in the climax. No Idea How feels like a natural follow up to that, with the pounding chorus and haunting backgrounds. The haunting vibe continues on into Always I Will Miss You. Always You. which starts off with a whispering voice before Buck comes in and sings almost sweetly of a heartbreaking loss. The next track, The Departure follows that up giving us almost a sense of urgency and frantic-ness.
Can Feel Love (Anymore) is, for my money, the best song on the album of greats. The song can be best summed up in the line "will she think the falling rain is sad, beautiful or both?", and is sung from the perspective of an expectant father wondering about his unborn daughter. While lyrics full of hope and optimism, if you are not hearing the lyrics, it almost sounds gloomy or heartbreaking. But even after comprehending the lyrics and message, the music does nothing but to strengthen that sense of hope.
The futuristic MC Space is perhaps the poppiest moment on the album. It doesn't fall flat, but does somewhat stick out from the rest. Let's Never Meet is the most poignant, with lyrics like "Let's never meet and regret a past endeavour/ What we have is rare indeed and guaranteed to last forever." The title track closes the album out with one of the more electronic songs and by the time the album ends with the bookend Ending, you realize you've just listened to something special.

Especially considering the two did this whole project as a "cross-continent collaboration"; they never actually met. But despite that, they still seemed to challenge each other, to push each other into something fantastic. Even the mediocre songs, on the context of the album, are still great songs by themselves. Greetings From Tuskan's music shines and Buck's lyrics are as brilliant as ever. And maybe I am looking too far into them, but More Heart Than Brains -- a title that supports my line of thought here -- seems to be an album about love. Finding love, losing love, keeping love and fearing love. About the good times and the bad, its uncertainties and devotion, it looks at everything.

Sometimes, when listening to artists of genres I'm not usually a fan of, I need to give the album time for it to breath and grow on me. That was not the case this time. I liked it instantly and repeated listenings have done nothing but affirm that. Perhaps I should have had a more open mind going in to the album. Perhaps I should have known not to doubt Buck 65. Whatever the case may be, both parties have said that this will not be a one off side project, but something they hope to continue. I'm with them on that sentiment.

Download All There Is To Say About Love

Download There Is Only One Of Us

Download I Will Miss You. Always You.

Download Can Feel Love (Anymore)

Clicky to exchange monies for music

Friday, November 20, 2009

Arkells @ Venue -- 11/19/09

I am still positive that I will never take Venue's name seriously. But silly, pretentious name aside, they do host some incredible bands. Like Hamilton, Ontario's Arkells who were there last night.

The Novaks opened the night. They were... I don't want to say bad, because they were not. But a little boring... bland and generic. A lot of their songs sounded the same or similar. Even the slower ones just seemed like they changed the tempo. Again, they were by no means horrible; I've seen worse. Much worse. But just not very memorable.

This was the fourth time seeing Arkells, but only second time headlining, and it was probably the best and most intense of all the shows thus far. Holy crap, do these guys have an insane amount of energy. The show started a little iffy, by no fault of Arkells, as the sound was a little... terrible. A lot of it was washed out and distorted. I don't know if it was just where we were sitting or what, but it really took me out of the first few songs. Eventually it was fixed (or I just learned to listen past it) and I got to really enjoy the show. They played just about every song from their debut album, Jackson Square, with a few other surprises. There was a new song which was called Where Are You Going? I think. I could sort of see the setlist from where I was and that's what it looked like it said. It was a pretty good song. Mid way through the set they did one of my favourite things; broke out a cover song. Their choice? Based on a bar near their hometown which plays a lot of old, classic music, they chose Smokey Robinson and The Miracles' The Tears of a Clown. It was a little rock-ier, a little Arkells-ier if you will, than the original, but a pretty damn good interpretation.
The last part of the set was just a string of great songs and performances. When they got to Oh, The Boss is Coming, the crowd went apeshit. Singing along with most of it, Arkells even threw in that call & reply with the breakdown of the song. The band may still be relatively new -- I think they've been together for three years? -- but damn, do they know how to work a crowd. No Champagne Socialist is always an incredible song to hear live. They ended the main set with my favourite song of theirs, John Lennon. Again, everyone was singing along to the chorus, and there was a really cool point where they segued into a little bit of Eleanor Rigby -- just the "Ah, look at all the lonely people" -- which, again, everyone sang along to.
They came out pretty quickly after for the "encore" and kept the sing along theme going, getting everyone to sing the first verse of Amazing Grace with them, which turned into Deadlines. After that they ended the show with yet another cover, this time of Dancing in the Dark. Again, a pretty awesome variation on the song, and there has got to be some pun value in Arkells covering Bruce Springstein. (As my friend put it: "Oh, The Boss is Covered") The only thing the cover lacked was Max pulling a girl out from the front of the crowd to dance with him, Courtney Cox-style.

Random covers, insane energy, great stage show and, above all else, fantastic music. What else could one ask for in a show?

Blueprints, The Ballad of Hugo Chavez, Tragic Flaw, Abigail, Heart of the City, I'm Not The Sun, Where Are You Going? (??), Pulling Punches, The Tears of a Clown (Smokey Robinson and The Miracles cover), Oh The Boss is Coming, No Champagne Socialist, John Lennon.
(encore) Deadlines, Dancing in the Dark (Bruce Springstein cover)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Wil @ The Biltmore -- 11/14/09

Sometimes when you haven't seen a performer in a while, you build them up in your memory, remember them as being more awesome as they actually are. I was really hoping that was not the case with Wil. There was a two year span, after discovering him when he opened for Wide Mouth Mason, where I saw him at least seven or eight times, with the last time, sadly, being a little over two years ago. He's been back a few times since, less frequently, but I always seemed to have terrible luck when he was here, never able to go or just missing him. Back then, I was adamant about Wil being one of the best live acts going, so I was very excited, if a little trepidatious, to see him again.

First out, though, was The British Columbians, who I had seen earlier this year when opening for the double bill of Arkells & The Waking Eyes. My opinion of them hasn't really changed much since then. They were Perfectly Acceptable Music; nothing all that great, but nothing terrible by any means. Their sound is kind of a.... country-metal, if that makes sense, heavy on the blues riffs. There wasn't much variety, though. The whole set sounded like one long song. They still had limited stage presence as well, with the stage falling silent a few times between songs while they set up for the next.

Then not too long after, it was time for Wil. As many times as I've seen him now, I am still amazed how his guitar does not burst into flames mid-show. The guy plays with an unparallelled intensity that, on many occasions, leads to broken strings -- which his wife then turns into jewelry. He was pretty much as amazing as I remembered, hitting the stage with just himself and drummer Jason Cook. They were minimal in numbers but absolutely enormous in sound. There've been a lot of places calling him "Canada's best kept secret" and I completely agree with that, as well as him being one of Canada's best live musicians. The only reason more people don't adore this man is simply because they haven't seen him live.
The set focused mostly on his last album, though he threw in a few new songs, including The River, which is a song that he's played live for years and is finally going to be on the upcoming album (January). The new songs were pretty good and made me all the more excited for the upcoming album. They even handed out a card which directed people to a website to download three demo's from the new album.
The new songs seemed a bit slower, but with most of the older songs, especially Big Life, Both Hands and Always With Love were played with pure energy and with his hand strumming the guitar so fast that most times it was a blur.
The highlight of the set, as hard as it would be to pick, would have to be near the end when he did Honey Pie. He goes absolutely insane in the song, and it had everyone clapping along, and doing a call-and-answer chorus of ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh's. Few times before have I seen the crowd at the Biltmore going as crazy. The one thing that disappointed me, though, is that he was light on songs from his first album, Both Hands -- by which I mean he didn't play Spitfire. In some of his early shows he would start and end the set with that song, so maybe it's just run its course.

By the end, all of my pre-show fears about me remembering him more legendary than he actually was were horseapples. If ever you have the opportunity to see this man live, I couldn't recommend it more.

Don't Let me Down, Big Life, Wedding Dress, The River, Baby Baby (?), Long Kiss Goodnight, Both Hands, If You Want Me To Know, Always With Love, Dance With The Devil, Tell You Twice, Honey Pie, By December.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Matthew Good w/ Mother Mother @ The Centre For Performing Arts -- 11/10/09

I won't talk too much at length about the second night, since a lot of what I covered the first night applies to the second. But I'll quickly go over the setlist and the differences between shows, and throw in a few pictures from both nights. As usual, the pictures are just taken with my phone, so they're not the best quality...

Before I start on tonights show, there were a couple things I missed from last night's show. First was Matt Good owning some dude in the crowd about the CBC. At one point he mentioned the show was being recorded for the CBC and got the usual response of "CBC sucks!". So he asked why and talked about how CBC is owned by us, the public, so it is accountable to us. Which is why the BBC is one of the best news organizations, since it, too, is publicly owned, while Fox News is owned by a bunch of jackasses. Capping it off with saying it's one of those things you have to actually give a shit about for it to work in your favour. Kind of like democracy.
The other thing was the lighting. Lighting is not really something you notice in most shows, unless it's really terrible, really distracting, or really good. This was definitely the latter. It's hard to describe, but suffice to say it really fit the moods of the songs and really enhanced the show, for both nights.

Mother Mother had pretty much the same set, just in a bit of a different order and one or two songs changed, so nothing too different from the first night.

As for Matthew Good, the show was actually pretty different than the night before.
He seemed to play a few more older songs, and hit most of the songs from Vancouver he didn't play last night. I was disappointed he didn't play Champions of Nothing and especially Vancouver National Anthem again, but Strange Days, Load Me Up (with a little bit of Love Will Tear Us Apart snuck in) and Everything is Automatic (with Good turning the chorus over to the crowd to sing), and especially Odette made up for it.
There was about half the songs in both sets that were the same, with the other half being different each night.
Everything seemed a bit looser the second night as well. There seemed to be a lot more joking and banter on stage, with a couple times him starting on one thing and going on a whole host of tangents, pretty much all hilarious. Matt's banter and humour have always been a huge part of why his live shows are so enjoyable, so it was great to see him a bit more talkative.
Some of the awesome stories, which will probably have no context here, included if Good was the leader in a One World Government, he would take all the arms from America and give them to a small country, like Jamaica or Mongolia. A decoy tourbus. And a tease of playing Suburbia by request (played the first verse, but couldn't go on due to wrong key) which somehow turned into a kids show theme, and Matt being creeped out by bassist Milos' creepy dance, which led to him doing his impeccable Borat accent. It got to the point where, near the end Good asked the crowd if it was weird to have so much wackiness going on between such serious songs.

All in all, I think the second night was the better of the two. Overall, a better setlist, what seemed like a much looser stage show and even a better crowd, it seemed at points.

On Nights Like Tonight, Avalanche, The Boy Who Could Explode, Great Whales of the Sea, A Single Explosion, I'm A Window, Born Losers, Load Me Up, Last Parade, Odette, Apparitions, Empty's Theme Park
(encore) Metal Airplanes (acoustic), Strange Days (acoustic), Giant, Weapon, Everything is Automatic.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Matthew Good w/ Mother Mother @ The Centre For Performing Arts -- 11/09/09

It's probably no surprise that I have seen Matthew Good, who is my favourite musician, every year since '04. Either with a band or acoustic, venues large or small, I have never seen him live and been anything less than blown away. He's also had some great opening bands, and this tour is no less. I had known & seen Mother Mother before, and had been wanting to see them live again, so them being the opening band was an added bonus!

I fully admit, I wasn't a big fan of Mother Mother until I saw them opening for Sam Roberts, but since then they've grown on me and I'm more into them now than I was then. They definitely won me over that day with their infectious chords and near-perfectly harmonized melodies, and tonight was no different. It was a very solid set, which consisted mostly of their more well known songs, with a few others thrown in -- I think at least one new one as well. The entire set was energetic, but Hay Loft was probably the most so. They didn't talk much, but has a great stage presence nonetheless, letting the catchy indie-pop-rock speak for itself. And damn, are these folks talented. Singer & guitarist Ryan Guldemond pulled of a couple of incredible guitar solos while bassist Jeremy Page had a fantastic saxophone solo during one of the songs. That's not something you see enough in rock shows. My only complaint would have to be that it was too short.

After not too long (I've said before, but I have grown to love curfew shows) Matthew Good came out with his three member backing band. He kicked off the show with The Boy That Could Explode, followed by another few songs from the new album, Vancouver. He then delved into the catalogue a bit for some favourites, including Avalanche, which is always pretty amazing live, and Apparitions which had most of the crowd singing along. Just before he went into Vancouver National Anthem, he talked a bit about the bylaw making it illegal to protest the olympics and Burquitlam MLA Harry Bloy calling protestors "Terrorists" with "a limited intellect" (seriously). The main set ended with the combination of Weapon and Empty's Theme Park. I already knew Weapon was pretty epic live, but holy shit was Empty's a fantastic song live.
They came back out to the opening of Giant (still one of my favourite openers to any album ever) with everyone chanting and clapping along to the familiar: K-I-C-K-A-S-S. (claps) That's the way we spell success, before a couple more songs and ending with Champions of Nothing. The song seemed a bit reworked, with the opening being more acoustic then the rest of the band slowly coming in. It was another incredible song and fantastic way to end out the night.
There seemed to be a little less banter than usual, due to him getting over being sick just before the tour, but what little there was was definitely hilarious, in true Matt Good fashion. At one point he was joking about scalpers and them ripping people off, selling tickets for the wrong show: STP. "Man, Scott Weiland has put on weight.... and where's his fedora???"
Possibly the best moment of the night came out of riffing, going from Matt joking it wasn't quite "Bublé O'Clock", going to his bewilderment of how crooners like that work in an arena setting... which somehow led the band to start a jazz riff and Good improvising a lounge-y number of (an apparent true story) the time he looked out his window to find a ninja getting it on with a pirate. Pure gold.

An absolutely incredible night of music, and I can't wait to see either band live again.
OH WAIT! I'm going to the second show tonight!

The Boy Who Would Explode, Great Whales of the Sea, Fought To Fight It, Born Losers, Avalanche, [lounge song], Apparitions, Vancouver National Anthem, Last Parade, A Silent Army in the Trees, Blue Skies Over Badlands, Weapon, Empty's Theme Park
(encore) Giant, Us Remains Impossible, Champions of Nothing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Metric @ The Orpheum -- 11/03/09

After my complaining last week, it was kind of nice to finally have a curfewed show on a weekday. And what a show it was! At first, I was vaguely disappointed that The Stills were opening for Metric out east but not here, but after the show, I most definitely changed my tune and was perfectly happy with the choice of openers.

I had seen Zeus before -- a couple times, actually -- when they opened for (and subsequently played with) Jason Collett last year. I liked them well enough then, but was never really inspired to do more than turn up Radio3 when they came on. However, I can safely say after this show, they fully won me over. And based on the crowd reaction, I wasn't the only one. Their 45 minute set was filled with awesomely catchy songs, like the single Marching Through Your Head and Genesis cover That's All. They also changed things up quite a bit. Of the our members, only the drummer stayed put. The other three traded off between guitar, bass and keyboard and swapped lead vocals, with everyone providing backups. It was pretty cool too see a band do this, as not many can, and spoke volumes for their talent. The only source of disappointment was that they only had a five song EP for sale, but clearly had enough awesomeness for a full length. I hope to see one soon and can't wait for them to be back in town.

This is the third time I've seen Metric in the last year (this show, an acoustic show earlier this year and the Jingle Bell Rock tour late last year) and they somehow manage to surprise me every time. Such an incredible sound that comes out of only four members. Emily Haines is like a tiny ball of energy, bouncing and jumping and rocking and dancing all over the place, when not on guitar or on the keys. And James Shaw always leaves me in awe of his boundless talent. And not to leave out Joules Scott-Key and Josh Winstead, who were both as great as always.
They kicked off with Twilight Galaxy -- which featured a theremin! awesome! -- which built to an epic climax before launching into Help I'm Alive and somehow keeping up the energy level for the entire set. Focusing mostly on the new album, Fantasies, they threw in only a few from Live It Out and just the two hits from Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? I was kind of hoping for a fewer older ones, like Succexy or Live It Out, but oh well. Gold Guns Girls was definitely a highlight of the set, which I think was the only song that saw Haines on guitar.
The weird this is, they didn't speak to the crowd until almost the end of the set. During the instrumental on an extended version of Empty, Haines "ranted" a little bit about how the past was better and this generation needs a new Zeppelin, which tied it in to how great Zeus is. The extended Empty also featured some random lyrics slipped in from other songs, like Beastie Boys' Fight for Your Right. They ended the "main" set with another incredible live song, Stadium Love, which was just another burst of pure energy and enthusiasm from the band. The encore consisted of Monster Hospital first, then Joules and John took their leave and Shaw & Haines did a very nice acoustic version of Combat Baby which everyone in the house sang along to. They also dedicated the song to their friend Torquil Campbell of Stars, who was in attendance (apparently). This was kinda funny, since it was the third show in a row I've been to where someone has mentioned Torquil.
After the song was done, Joules and John came back out and the band thanked everyone for what was an awesome night, for all involved.

Twilight Galaxy, Help I'm Alive, Satellite Mind, Poster of a Girl, Handshakes, Gold Guns Girls, Collect Call, Empty, Gimme Sympathy, Sick Muse, Dead Disco, Blindness, Stadium Love.
(encore) Monster Hospital, Combat Baby (acoustic).