They were largely inspired by their new album, Formentera, for a set of 90 minutes. Dear Rouge was the first act.
Exam: Metric with Dear Rouge
Where: royal theater
When: Thursday August 11
Evaluation: 3.5 (out of 5)
If the pandemic hadn’t turned touring schedules into a mess of weird bookings, abrupt cancellations, and limited-capacity gigs, Metric likely would have been slotted into the Save-on-Foods Memorial Center, as opposed to dates. back-to-back at the Theater Royal.
And it’s based on sound volume.
The Toronto-New York band upped their amps in their tour-opening performance on Thursday, which wasn’t always a bad thing; the band specializes in stadium-sized rock ‘n’ roll and delivered on time in that regard.
But while his penchant for full volume makes sense, when it comes to anthemic choruses, some of the nuance has been lost along the way. Vocalist-keyboardist Emily Haines was peppy herself — not lacking in range, to boot — and Jimmy Shaw made the songs sing along with his regular guitar solos.
But the highs were sharp in places and the lows a little muddy on occasion. It wasn’t a major concern, but some issues persisted. An overabundance of echo, reverb and gain is not always a good thing, especially in a room with great acoustics.
Maybe the bomb-friendly arena would have been better suited, after all.
The band’s new album, Formentera, which they drew heavily from during the 90-minute set, felt somewhat difficult to recreate. The room, which was not sold out, reserved its loudest cheers for the band’s older material, which still sounds strong (Help I’m Alive, in particular). The intermediate space between the two was good, but not great.
The evening opened with a set by Vancouver band Dear Rouge, who won over the crowd with an energetic set.
Led by the husband-and-wife duo of Danielle and Drew McTaggart, the band played their first songs bathed in blue light, with flashing LED lights and a Dear Rouge neon sign to offset the cool face. The stage was dimly lit for too long, which made it difficult to connect with the band initially.
The Fake Fame hit was a heavy banger, and there were great tones from both guitars throughout, but the band didn’t exactly blow the doors of the theater. Dear Rouge have put in some impressive club performances around these parts in recent years, so the band may be better suited to the confines of the capital’s ballroom until further notice.
Metric also suffered from a somewhat slow start, with muddy sound affecting its opening salvo, the outstanding 10-minute epic, Doomscroller. The group recovered quickly, and by the heart of its set is rolling and in great shape.
Metric didn’t take their foot off the gas at the end of the night with Breathing Underwater. “I can see the end,” Haines sang, while sounding genuinely moved by the audience’s reaction.
After two years of uncertainty, she has earned the right to hope.
Metric and Dear Rouge also perform at the Royal Theater on Friday. Tickets are available at rmts.bc.ca.