Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Metric & Hellogoodbye Make a Great Case for Openers

I hope you got to Madison Square Garden for the Paramore show early enough to see the opening acts.  It's hard to believe that just three months ago, I was within a few yards of Hellogoodbye in the backyard of an eyeglasses store, and last night I was hundreds of feet away in the nosebleeds of MSG.  (Tangent: The venue's new flying bridges are terrible.  The beachball-esque ceiling, which droops to the scoreboard in the center, is without a doubt, the Garden's most iconic feature, and now it's obscured by two monstrosities.  It's absolutely shocking to me that the architects would sacrifice that view to the tune of 430 more seats.)  While I'm sure the bridges also disrupt the room's acoustics, the sound mix for "...And Everything Becomes a Blur" was the muddiest I've heard in the building.  But perhaps there wasn't enough time to soundcheck properly, as it seemed every member in the band also had a keyboard in front of them.  "This is a kind-of old song," said Forrest Kline, gearing up "When We First Met" and the directing the audience to clap along for the pre-chorus.  They followed with "Swear You're in Love," which set up a pattern of injecting more sounds into the second verses of the tunes.  "This is an old song," explained Kline before "Here (in Your Arms)."  After so much avoidance, it was nice to see Forrest embracing his electro-pop past, employing a vocoder and deviating little from its recorded version, save for some sweet guitar licks in the second verse.  He shared vocal duties with the arena on the final chorus, the line "whispers, 'Hello, I've missed you quite terribly'" anything but a whisper.  For "Just Don't Let Go Just Don't," he grabbed his microphone, which was attached to a cable of blinking lights, and showed off some nerdy dance moves at the edge of the stage.  They finished the short set with their most recent album's title cut, "(Everything is) Debatable."  "I wish we could sit and chat all night," Kline remarked sincerely, and retreated backstage.

With an ebullient tide of distortion, Metric powered into "Black Sheep."  They may have been the middle act, but the band obviously set out to prove (and did) that they were capable of headlining the historic venue.  Emily Haines was an effervescent vision in her sparkly outfit, which gave way to a pair of shapely legs.  It's no secret how she stays in such fantastic shape.  The stage is her gym.  Never content just to stand still, she spent the entire concert hopping from foot to foot in an aerobic dance.  She was an absolute delight to watch, especially little things like pulling her microphone away to extend each "miiiiind" in "Youth Without Youth," or the tambourine theatrics to emphasize the crescendoes in "Help I'm Alive."  "Synthetica" was probably my favorite performance of the night, with Jimmy Shaw's clean guitar lines shining brightly until the dense layers all forged into a dizzying climax under the strobe lights.  I didn't want it to stop, but as it does on the album, the tune ended abruptly.  "Breathing Underwater" saw Emily jabbing her tambourine triumphantly into the sky to punctuate each "Is this my life?"  Haines strapped on a six-string to play rhythm on "Gold Guns Girls," and Shaw came center stage to rip into a soaring solo.  Metric finished their set by giving the hallowed arena some "Stadium Love."  "Thank you, Hayley!  Thank you, New York City!" shouted Emily as she left the stage, Jimmy's guitar still feeding back to mix with the cheers.  Yes, thank you, Hayley Williams, for picking such talented bands to open for you.

HELLOGOODBYE - 11.13.13 - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN (26 minutes, 11 seconds)

SET - 
...And Everything Becomes a Blur / When We First Met / Swear You're in Love / Here (in Your Arms) / Just Don't Let Go Just Don't / (Everything is) Debatable

METRIC - 11.13.13 - MADISON SQUARE GARDEN (38 minutes, 23 seconds)

Black Sheep / Youth Without Youth / Help I'm Alive / Synthetica / Breathing Underwater / Sick Muse / Gold Guns Girls / Stadium Love

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