7/1/15-TD Garden

No doubt Metric is a recognizable name for many (particularly for our Canadian neighbors), but selecting an opening act that’s been around longer than some of their fans have been alive was an interesting choice for Imagine Dragons.

Fifteen years of independent music meant Metric had an eclectic mix of tracks to choose from, and the setlist reflected everything from their involvement in Scott Pilgrim with “Black Sheep,” to tracks off their yet-unreleased album, to hit songs “Help I’m Alive” and “Gimme Sympathy.”

After “Stadium Love,” Metric launched into an unreleased song “Too Bad, So Sad,” but perhaps they hadn’t put in enough rehearsal time to get comfortable – the woo hoo’s of lead singer Emily Haines felt oddly calculated. In the song that followed, “Black Sheep,” Haines talk-shouted about “balls of steel” over grungy guitar, and this time the set of woo-hoo’s flowed easily, echoing throughout the Garden. (Yes, two songs in a row with woo hoo’s in the lyrics.)

An opening slot meant they would be hammering out the hits, and “Help I’m Alive,” ended with Haines on her knees, the song slowly fading out. When she rose for “Cascades” she had a shimmering cape attached to her back; fans onstage blew air that moved the translucent material, making it bubble up behind her like a giant jellyfish. She must’ve been anchored to that space because she jogged in place, Wii-fit style.

Meanwhile, the rest of the band donned sets of glowing blue or white glasses that looked a bit like Kanye’s shutter shades, except without the gaps. Either they were brilliantly engineered or left the band blinded for a song. Still debating. Perhaps it was a result of their move to a synthier sound, (or maybe it was the jellyfish cape) but much of the set felt like Haines was moving in slow motion, as if underwater, often missing the raw, defiant attitude that one would expect from Metric songs.

Before starting the next song, Haines added, “Time… none of us know how much we have, and all we can do is make sure we’re spending the time we have the right way for the person you are. And only you know who that person is. So for me, it’s 15 years of independent music with my friends here.” Haines went on to explain that staying true to yourself can pay off – like the phone call from Imagine Dragons inviting them on tour – and the crowd roared. “Here’s a song about staying true to you,” she said, before starting “Synthetica.” There was something ironic about hearing her sing about “waiting for the crowd shot to be seen” in a gigantic stadium.

As she grabbed a guitar, Haines called out to the crowd: “How many girls play guitar? It’s fun, you should try it. It’s good for your health.” However, it was James Shaw, the male guitarist, who played the grinding guitar solo and closed out “Gold, Guns, Girls” with his guitar held high over his head to the loud cheers of the crowd.

Haines ditched her guitar for a tambourine on “Breathing Underwater,” beating out the rhythm into our heads, slowly raising it up to salute the crowd at the chorus. “Is this my life?” she asked, until the question became a whisper and she came to her knees, drenched in blue light. They closed with another new song, “The Shade,” but Haines had trouble hitting some notes. Some of the lower register was masked by instruments, the way you let the karaoke machine drown you out as you mumble your way through a song you only really know the chorus to.

The synths slowed for one last monologue before Haines jumped into another round of “I want it all’s” and the giant LED backdrop flashed “METRIC” to the audience.

Sometimes Synthetica: Metric
Pros
  • Well-placed monologues
  • Guitar solos
Cons
  • Dainty delivery, lacked explosive energy
  • Sometimes out of tune
6.4Overall Score

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