Last Night: Metric at House of Blues

Metric, Half Moon Run House of Blues October 15, 2012

Did you feel that cool front come through? If you didn't, you should get out more. Canadians have been rolling deep through H-town as of late, and they seem to be bringing some welcome weather patterns with them from the Great White North.

Toronto's The Weeknd played Bayou Music Center on Friday, but I skipped that one in order to check out Stars perform for a packed house at Fitzgerald's on the same night. Almost before I could finish digesting that show, a third Canadian ACL Fest act -- Toronto's Metric -- took over the House of Blues on Monday.

Whereas Stars' set on Friday felt like an intimate little dinner party among old friends, Metric came to town looking to blow the venue's doors off, plain and simple. It was the last night of a five-week tour with Montreal's Half Moon Run, but if the band was tired, it damn sure didn't show.

I felt a little sorry for Half Moon Run, to be perfectly honest. The talented young quartet of multi-instrumentalists is touring behind its debut album, Dark Eyes, and the group was still obviously giddy to be playing its charming brand of rootsy, relaxed synth-rock to virgin ears.

Inevitably, though, all memory of Half Moon Run dissipated the moment electromagnetic front woman Emily Haines and her Metric-mates appeared on stage. Suddenly, the entire room seemed to begin vibrating.

Metric opened their set with the first two tracks from their excellent new record, Synthetica. After Haines wrapped up the album's lonely opener, "Artificial Nocturne," the band cranked up for real on the pulsing single "Youth Without Youth."

Holy shit. The four-piece sounded absolutely massive, thanks to some to slick sound engineering and the HOB's mighty PA. The electricity didn't just crackle out of the speakers, it exploded into the crowd as if designed to clear the decks of an enemy naval vessel.

As lush and powerful as Metric sounded, they brought plenty to look at, too. A dazzling LED lighting display showered the audience in blinding strobes, colorful crosshatching and vibrant lasers. Even so, most of the eyes in the venue remained glued to Haines.

Baring her knockout gams as usual, the singer/synther never seemed to stop moving. Wearing a leather jacket dripping with chains and a perfectly tailored pair of black hot pants, Haines worked up a healthy glow jazzercising to the beat.