Metric – Help, I’m A Fan

Twitter usually leads me astray. Typically, when I scroll through it — which, as habit would have it, I do throughout the day — I’m watching my friends battle over friend-ly things, or I’m reading headlines of articles I’ve already read, or I’m alerted to emotional crises plaguing people I don’t know that well.


Metric plays Philly. Thanks to Twitter, we were in on the surprise.

But today, I got some genuine news when scrolling through those 140-character accounts of boredom: According to Philly’s CityPaper, Metric (lead by the incomparable [and Canadian!] Emily Haines) was playing at World CafĂ© Live at 8.

“Rawle!” I typed to the guy who’s been raving about Ms. Haines’ live show at the First Unitarian Church for as long as I’ve known him, “Metric’s playing tonight! At 8! We have to go!”

So, we went.

A few words first. This was a super-secret show. Wasn’t mentioned on Metric’s Web site, wasn’t leaked on bulletin boards (that I know of). Just popped up on CityPaper today.

Secondly: I’m kind of jealous of Emily Haines. First of all, she’s super hot. Nobody doesn’t want to bone her. And she’s crazy great at writing pop songs, not to mention an ivory-tickler of Nina Simone caliber. So. Piano-playing- and leather pants-wearing-wise, I want to be her.

Canadians in our midst: Emily Haines and James Shaw.

Canadians in our midst: Emily Haines and James Shaw.

Disclaimers disclaimed, here’s the show:

Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw (Metric’s two Canadian members) strode onto the stage. They played the majority of their upcoming album, Fantasies, on electric piano and acoustic guitar — that is to say, not with the crash-bam-boom rock soundsystem that is Metric’s trademark. These were very stripped-down, “campfire” songs, as they called them; and the audience, seated at tables and lining the walls, was in awed silence throughout. Here in Philly, I’d never seen anything like it.

They started with “Gold Guns Girls,” presumably the first track off Fantasies:

Then they played “Help, I’m Alive,” which laid the groundwork for this awesome vignette about the album’s creation.

I especially loved the fourth and fifth tunes. Guess I’ll have to wait for the album to drop in April to catch their names.

In the center of the show, each took a stab at a solo at piano. Shaw played a lovely tune in the unrequited love realm (something about his own redeeming qualities getting nullified by an unanswered phone call); Haines played a Buffalo Springfield cover (“Expecting to Fly,” to be specific, which has slayed me many a time…Neil Young’s seen me through my own unrequited loves).

The pair’s penultimate (what! that’s the word!) offering was called “Give Me Sympathy” (which asks, “Who would you rather be: The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?” Depends on the hour of night, for me. And if whiskey’s in the cards.). Couldn’t quite get it on camera, but here’s a great video. I’ve been listening to it the whole time I’ve been writing this thing.

They finished with “Live It Out,” harmonizing til the end:

The encore was “Monster Hospital.” Everybody freaked out! And then the house lights went up, and it was The End of the Show.

We hung out for a while, breaking down the show, guzzling down our beers, sucking out the last bits of freedom before a new work day began.

But what do you know. We emerged onto Walnut Street and there’s the band. And then there’s Rawle doing his “You see, kids…” bit and making friends. And then there’s this picture:


Between this and having Bruce Springsteen point at me in October, I’m well on my way to being the next Band-Aid. Tryin’.

Fantasies will be released on April 14, 2009.