One of last year’s best comebacks came in the form of the seventh studio album of Canadian rock outfit Metric, the perfectly titled Art of Doubt. They unsurprisingly brought the house down by breathing that album to life at the Hollywood Palladium on Wednesday.
Art of Doubt followed up 2015’s somewhat lackluster Pagans in Vegas, a record that delved into electronic music more than any previous Metric record. I enjoyed moments on that album, but Art of Doubt was definitely a return to older form, which pleased many diehards.
There are few things more enjoyable than seeing Emily Haines and Co. rip through a set. Guitarist James Shaw has matching swagger, and the Palladium was a perfect place for these massive songs.
The band wasted no time jumping into the new record, with heavy-handed “Love You Back”. The guitar riffs of that jam told you all you needed to know about this record. Though it used synths like they always do, it was going to pack a bigger punch. Things really got started a couple songs later with fellow Art of Doubt track “Dressed to Suppress”. Haines sang the tender intro verse before Shaw’s killer guitar line came soaring in. That song was a gut punch and as I looked around, I noticed a lot of people jamming out to this one.
Old favorite “Breathing Underwater” followed, and that was one of the night’s biggest singalongs. One of the surprises for me was “No Lights on the Horizon”, which popped just a tad bit more than on the new record.
Towards the end of the set, they dipped into the past. “Gimme Sympathy” gave goosebumps, before they turned the clock way back for “Dead Disco”. They closed out their set with one of my favorite Metric jams, “Gold Gun Girls”, which left me out of breath from trying to keep up.
Metric didn’t pull any punches in their encore. Art of Doubt cut “Dark Saturday” kicked things off, setting up my favorite song from the new album, “Now Or Never Now”. That might be my favorite song Metric has ever written, it takes you on a total journey and it didn’t disappoint live. “Oh, only silence can restore / The sense of place I had before / Oh, only silence can repair / My sense of self I lost somewhere,” is just a banger of a melancholic line. Haines sings it with such perfect introspection and rawness.
That setup the encore-closing “Help I’m Alive,” also known as the song that launched a million Metric fans. It was the perfect way to wrap up a set and leave me wondering why they don’t get booked on more festival bills. They are show stealers.
Mexican rockers Zoé co-headlined and brought a heavy contingency, and openers July Talk did a great job kicking things off.
Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Tim Aarons