Sunday, September 25, 2005

Of Metric in Kingston

I have no real use for Homecoming weekend, but it arrived this weekend, like it does every year, to massive hype and excitement amongst Queen’s students. To cut right to the chase, this year the student government at Queen’s booked a free concert on campus in an attempt to try and cut down, however slightly, the number of intoxicated students roaming the streets. I wasn’t planning to go, but when I heard the lineup of Stripper’s Union, Metric and Billy Talent I jumped at the chance and got my ticket.

Stripper’s Union is a solo project by Rob Baker of The Tragically Hip and I arrived about halfway through their set. What I heard didn’t seem to be bad, nor was it anything special. One or two songs were catchy and it was pleasant enough to listen to, but a few of the songs faded into background noise as I walked around trying to find a good place to stand to listen to Metric.

After twenty (I’m guessing twenty, it seemed like about forty) minutes between sets Metric came out to cheers, most of the polite-sort as Billy Talent fans had clearly begun to pack the parking lot. Metric began to play, starting off with a song from their new album. I haven’t downloaded it, so I can’t name most of the songs. After this song they jumped right into ”Succexy” and the show was off and rocking.

At this point the guy with the big head right in front of me turned to someone to my left and said, “You know, I only came for Stripper’s Union anyway.” Thankfully, he’d leave within a couple of songs, although some girls took his place, so I couldn’t move up. I’ve seen Metric once before, but this show occurred the day after their four straight sold-out shows in Toronto and Emily Haines lost her voice about halfway through the show, unfortunately. That show didn’t compare to this one, even if she crowd-surfed partway through and I got to touch her leg.

This show was awesome. They played about half new stuff and half old, including “Combat Baby”, “The List”, “Dead Disco” and “Hustle Rose.” The new stuff they played was quite good and I’m looking forward to hearing it in its entirety. Apparently, this was the premiere performance for one of their songs – I believe it was “Poster of a Girl.” Haines deemed it, “Okay.” Josh Winstead took about four pictures during the show, some of Haines, some of the audience.

The band really rocked and put on a great show, in my opinion. Like always, Josh and James Shaw played their instruments full of emotion (it was really tough to see Joules on the drums from where I stood) and they both held your attention in their own right. However, as always, the star of the show was Emily. Her stage presence is mesmerising. Whether she’s gyrating her legs to the music, head-banging or just dancing around on stage, it’s almost impossible to look away from her. To use the obvious pun, it’s simply “succexy.” The only other musicians I’ve seen live that are comparable are Steven Page, and to a lesser degree Ed Robertson, of the Barenaked Ladies.

So, I was disheartened when Metric left, but since I was pretty close to the stage I decided to wait around for Billy Talent. Forty minutes later, they came on stage, at which point I was pushed in the back by about half-a-dozen drunken frat boys who were barging their way to the front. I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything else, but still, I figured since I was near the sides I could avoid the worst of it. Fifteen minutes later I had taken an elbow in the head, been forced to mosh against my will and had begun to realise that I don’t even like Billy Talent.

I knew I wouldn’t, but I figured it’d be worth sticking around now that I’m there. It wasn’t.

So I wandered around the outskirts of the parking lot, preparing to go home, but slowly taking a tour around before I left, hoping I’d run into someone I know or come up with a good idea of what to do besides go home. As I was walking around, I passed by the merchandising table and did a double-take. There, standing by the table, was Emily Haines talking to another member of Metric. I’m pretty sure it was Joules, but at the time I wasn’t sure if it was him, James (I had doubt as to whether I had the names right) or some random person.

I stood around, nervously debating what to do for about ten minutes. I wanted to approach them, but I didn’t know what to say and I wasn’t sure if they would prefer to be left in peace. During that ten minutes I saw that two girls approached them, but that was it. Not many people were nearby and those that were had no idea who they were standing amongst. Afraid they would leave, I finally bit the bullet and walked over, still unsure of what I was going to say.

I stood patiently near them as Emily finished saying something and looked over. I said nervously, “Sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to say that you played a great set. I’m really looking forward to the next album.”

She replied, “Thanks,” but didn’t say much else.

I wasn’t sure whether that was a cue to leave or not, so I continued, “I saw you guys last time you played were here – at the Elixir…”

I was about to say, “When you lost your voice,” but Emily smiled and motioned to her throat, saying the same thing. She said something to the effect of that she was going to thank all the fans who put up with her that night and who came back to see them again, but then she decided against it.

I wished I could have come up with something charming or funny to say – I’d have even settled for articulate. Instead, I soon said, “Well, it was understandable after those four shows in Toronto. Don’t worry, this more than made up for it. It was fantastic.”

She smiled and was about to say something, but then some girls appeared and thrust out objects for her to sign. She kind-of smiled sideways at me and began to sign her autograph. I had nothing for Emily to sign and these girls were talking to her, so I was unsure of what to do. Should I stay and try to resume a conversation after they left? Should I hang around and play it by ear? Or was this my cue to leave?

I assume the third, as I didn’t want to appear stalkery and I assumed Emily didn’t want to have mindless conversations with ardent fans all night long. So I left, happy that I met her but sad that I wasn’t able to say something real or intelligent in our brief 30-second conversation.

So, for those of you keeping track, Metric have played Kingston twice while I’ve been her. The first time I touched Emily on the leg and the second time I spoke to her. As this seems to be a pattern, I will conclude these are certainly not two random occurrences. Apparently, Metric are coming to Kingston in January. How can this incident be topped? I’m not sure, but I’m already looking forward to it.


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At September 26, 2005 at 9:34 a.m., Blogger SH said...

You should have got her to sign your butt cheek

At September 26, 2005 at 11:27 p.m., Blogger Thomas said...

I considered the breast. The butt is very juvenile, but the breast symbolises confidence and eroticism.

At September 27, 2005 at 5:30 a.m., Blogger SH said...

YOUR breast????

At September 30, 2005 at 11:33 p.m., Blogger Thomas said...

Why not? It speaks to a rare male confidence. And it would have got me remembered next time she came to Kingston.

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