Review: Metric, July Talk deliver high-energy entertainment on Easter Sunday

Metric at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Sunday night

Singers Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis of July Talk. The alt-rockers opened for Metric at the Edmonton Convention Centre on Sunday night. Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia

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There was a lot of love to go around on Sunday night at the Edmonton Convention Centre.

It was flowing between bands, between fans and bands, between fans and other fans. So much love, in fact, that you had to wonder if a parallel dimension had collided with ours, one in which a very different election result had dissipated all of the negative feelings out there. We can only dream, right?

Newly shorn singers Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis led July Talk onstage after a short opening set by Dears frontman Murray Lightburn. The ready-for-action look suited the pair, who seem determined to up the ante on their already frenetic, drama-packed stage show. Kicking off with Headsick (from their self-titled debut) the Toronto-based five-piece interspersed audience faves from their two-album discography with a few tantalizing glimpses of their freshly recorded third effort, which has yet to see a release date.

They remain one of the more entertaining live acts you’ll ever see. While drummer Danny Miles, bassist Josh Warburton, and guitarist Ian Docherty locked the groove, Dreimanis and Fay attempted to shake it apart, twin whirlwinds that bumped against each other, spun erratically across the stage, fused in brief moments at the microphone together. Dreimanis moved between keyboard and guitar as required, stentorian rasp melding with Fay’s sweet voice; the chemistry can be riveting, especially on songs like Guns + Ammunition and Push + Pull. Newly minted numbers Pretender and Pay For It show the band simultaneously refining and moving past their sound.

Easter Sunday has resurrection as a theme, but Metric kicked off their set with Dead Disco, which may or may not have been a sly rejoinder to the day. The four-piece did their level best to resurrect all of the styles noted in their early single, something they’ve worked at consistently since forming back in the late ’90s. Three keyboards accompanied the basic guitar, bass, and drum setup, with each member (except for drummer Joules Scott-Key) supplementing their usual duties with some side synth action.

You could say that having July Talk as an opener has kicked the band into a higher gear, but Metric have never lacked energy. That being said, they seemed especially motivated on Sunday night, singer Emily Haines leading her comrades through a set that focused on their most recent release, The Art of Doubt. It was a fiery show, and if some of the newer numbers don’t seem quite as compelling (this will undoubtedly change as the album sinks in with fans a little more), the performance was swaggeringly stellar.

Those who waited patiently were rewarded with the expected end-of-the-night hits: Gold Guns Girls, Gimme Sympathy, Monster Hospital, delivered with the flair of a band that doesn’t know how to rest on its own laurels.

 

REVIEW

Metric

With: July Talk and Murray Lightburn

Where: Edmonton Convention Centre

When: Sunday, April 21

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