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BEING THERE: Metric @ Union Transfer

Metric_@_Union_Transfer)by_Josh_Pelta-Heller

Photo by JOSH PELTA-HELLER

Halfway through their Fillmore set on Thursday night, Metric singer Emily Haines nodded openly at her band’s evolution. “You get this pair of pants, and you wear them all the time, and then you don’t know where those pants are anymore!” Consider that fair warning, Metric fans: by “those pants” she meant the first half of their 20-year catalog, because the Toronto synth-rockers shined the hot strobe lights almost exclusively on their latest record for the duration of their set, saving just a couple of their best-beloved hits for last with no apology and no further explanation.

To be sure, Metric brought plenty of their trademark stagecraft, as Haines pranced and rocked out across the length of the stage to their dazzling disco ball light show, ducking into her keyboad cove with bassist Josh Winstead to deviously wind pulsing dual- and triple-tracks of their infectious distorted synthesizer hooks around the backbeat, before Winstead slings his electric bass back around to pull them out of a middle-eight.

The crowd was thin, for a Metric show, but that didn’t feel sad. It felt sort of intimate, special, loose and unregimented, the way it used to feel when for whatever reason half your fourth grade class was out for the day and the teacher felt comfortable enough to go off script for awhile. The four of them are able to build a rapport with the room, with the fans of which they seem genuinely very fond. But — in the best way — the band seems mostly to be pleasing themselves, unfettered by the conventions of setlist standards or anyone’s expectations but their own, as they lean on their two decades of chemistry while Haines freely dances the night away, as though she’s listening to her favorite songs in her own living room, in her own ‘80s-flavored electronica dream. – JOSH PELTA-HELLER

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