Concert review: Metric and the Silversun Pickups at Rock The Garden
- Walker Arts Center
- Minneapolis, MN
- June 15, 2013
Halfway through Silversun Pickups set, lead singer Brian Aubert paused to tell the crowd that the prior set from the band Low was “insane”. Well, yeah, that’s one way of putting it. In one of the more controversial sets you’ll ever hear about (and one that I did not witness) Low played a 29 minute set, with one song, and no hits. Fairly ballsy (other reviews say it was polarizing) in front of a robust crowd of 12,000 that had been making their way through rain storms, bad traffic, crowded walkways and long beer lines. That being said Low set a low standard for the Silversun Pickups to build from. Anything resembling a 4-minute track from the Pickups was going to be as awesome as hearing ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ for the first time.
The festival was fortunate to have the two very engaging, charismatic lead singers headlining the festival, especially following Low. As Aubert strutted from stage left to stage right with a smile that showed how giddy he was to play in front of a crowd this sized, Emily Haines of Metric pranced, danced and sang with pop authority through the final note of the acoustic ‘Gimme Sympathy’. Together, both Metric and the Pickups provided a favorable, and timely one-two punch to a crowd that was understandably bewildered earlier in the day by Low’s 30-minute song. Part of me wishes I had seen it, most of me doesn’t. The best music was saved for last and while I actually applaud Low’s attempt at something avant-garde and out of the norm, there’s no doubt that the Pickups and Metric saved the festival from both mother nature and a bigger than expected crowd.
A few words on Metric. Now yes, they played an abbreviated version (the show had to be over at 10pm and Metric was done at 10:01 (I could see the same clock on stage that Emily Haines was watching)) of their standard set of hits from their 5-album catalog but it’s still invigorating to hear tracks from the first two Metric albums mixed in with their three most recent and the progression they’ve made from an early pop-punk sound (‘Dead Disco’) to the ethereal pop they opened the show with (‘Artificial Nocturne’, ‘Clone’). You’re certainly not going to get that mix at a Madonna, Katy Perry or Lady Gaga show. It’s unfair for me to still consider Haines under-rated when she headlines a concert with 12,000 fans but the woman has powers that are peaking. Forget the long, perfect legs on display by this 40-year old and listen to the voice that is unwavering through the 15 or so songs. She sings with full melody while simultaneously filming a P90x workout video unknowingly. She’s still the high standard for pop female performers on the planet with a catalog of solid songs that is building taller about every two years. Her influence and introspective style from Lou Reed was talked about, by Haines, the night before in depth at the Fitzgerald Theater where two of her six chosen songs were Reed covers. She’s certainly walking in the right direction and following the proper shadows from Reed. The woman could not be much better than she is now.