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Metric at the NAC, August 2022. Photo: Marc Lepage.

Gig Photos: Metric at the NAC, August 26, 2022

By Marc Lepage on August 29, 2022

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On Saturday, CanRock stalwarts Metric brought their Doomscroller tour to the National Arts Centre. The early crowd was treated to a great set by Washington D.C.’s Bartees Strange. Strange announced that this was their first time in Ottawa, and judging by the response to their set, we can hope that they will be back soon.

As soon as singer Emily Haines and the other members of Metric (guitarist James Shaw, bassist Joshua Winstead ,and drummer Joules Scott-Key) walked on stage in near darkness, the anticipation in the room was palpable. The band immediately launched into the absolutely epic new song “Doomscroller,” which clocks in at over 10 minutes long. Not many bands can pull off a 10-minute opening song, but Metric did it effortlessly. The song rises and falls, alternating between light electronica with Haines’ delicate vocals to building intensity and a sense of anxiety and urgency as the pressured rhythmic vocals chant, “Don’t give up yet, don’t give up yet, don’t give up yet, don’t give up now,” before resolving to beautiful piano vocal interlude, where Haines sings, “Whatever you do, either way we’re gonna love you.” Simply beautiful. This song is in constant rotation for me now.

On this tour, the band has made a point of trying to play many fan favourites, while also leaning heavily on their newest release, Formentera. Last night was no different and fans were treated to a setlist that left everyone satisfied. Haines wasted no time in telling the crowd to get on their feet as they played the opening notes of “Gold Guns Girls” and maintained the party atmosphere throughout the set.

They slowed things down for a couple of acoustic songs mid-set featuring Haines and guitarist James Shaw. After the first song, Haines said to the crowd, “How ya been? I was so excited when I saw we were gonna be in Ottawa on a Saturday night, and I thought to myself, I’m gonna rock their faces off!” which drew loud applause from the packed crowd, before they continued with “Combat Baby”.

The band’s set was augmented by a simple but effective backdrop of colourful lights that often looked as though you were watching various colourful shapes moving behind closed Venetian blinds, as all that was visible were the shifting, coloured horizontal lines across the black backdrop.

It was truly a wonderful night of music with Metric, and the diversity of the audience highlighted how universal the appeal of their music is. It was particularly nice to see several wide-eyed young kids there with their parents, absolutely awestruck by the performance. People of all ages were on their feet, dancing and singing along with every song.


Metric’s latest release Formentera is available now wherever you stream or buy music, and Metric’s Doomscoller tour has several more eastern Canadian dates before continuing in the U.S.

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