METRIC with UNCUT at the Mod Club Theatre, January 22. Tickets: $17.50. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
It could have been a disaster. About a minute into Metric 's Saturday-night show at the Mod Club (the second of four consecutive sold-out gigs at the venue), frontwoman Emily Haines 's vintage Pro-One keyboard went totally bonkers.
"I think it's channelling a ghost or something," she said as the keyboard squeaked and a small army of roadies scurried around trying to get a handle on it. The all-ages crowd looked on in bewilderment, unsure whether to applaud, scowl or head to the bar for another soda.
Unfortunately, all the king's men couldn't get the damn thing together again, and after a lengthy delay Haines and company were forced to press on sans keys. So instead of the usual treatment, we got a guitar-heavy Metric as guitarist Jimmy Shaw and bassist Joshua Winstead (dressed to thrill in black suits and white ties) did their damnedest to pick up the slack.
You had to feel for them up there. Without Haines's keyboard work, some tunes sounded a little naked - like Kraft Dinner without ketchup.
Good thing Haines is the best Canadian frontwoman since Lee Aaron. That Small Wonder robot-girl thing she does onstage is so sexy, she could sit in a chair playing the spoons and still be more entertaining than two dozen blue Jeff Martins.
It helps that the tunes are good, too. Love Is A Place and its haunting refrain - aided by some Leppard-worthy lighting - was lingering and lovely, and Combat Baby's bouncy drums sound better with each listen.
But it was the knees-up finale of Dead Disco that really got the young bloods going. During the song's now customary live jam-out, Haines looked out into a sea of raised hands and asked, "Should I do it? Are we allowed?"
And before you could say "Eddie Vedder," Haines had leapt head first into the pit and was surfing a small semi-circle. While she likely wasn't keen on letting a bunch of adolescents grope her (who would be?), Haines sure knows how to play a crowd.