Reaching for the Stars in Metric Measure

Rogers Arena hosted two Canadian bands, Stars and Metric, on Saturday, November 10th. I showed up early with a friend to make sure we didn’t miss Stars’ set, and we took our seat in the stands. We, two single gals, couldn’t help noticing the copious amount of couples around us. We were encircled by them and I knew exactly why.

Stars, because of their focus on duets, have always stirred an image of romance in my mind. Their ability to create music about every type of relationship is something they approach fearlessly; their performance Saturday night was a testament to this bravery. The energy emanating from lead singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Milan as they thrashed about on stage was parallel to the passion that comes through in their heartfelt songs. It can’t be denied that Stars have many songs about love. With this comes the acknowledgment that there are generally two types of listeners and, thus, two distinct feelings which their music evokes: loneliness in the single population, and delight among the coupled. As I mentioned, couples, based on where we were seated, made up the majority, hence the palpable positive vibe in the Arena.

I enjoyed  the mix of old and new songs Stars presented. “Take me to the Riot”, was a clear crowd favourite as well as a personal one. Ending their show with “Hold On When You Get Love” was perfect, and I’m pretty sure the couples surrounding me thought so as well.

Rogers Arena continued to fill during the intermission. Only the lower bowl was open for the show, with most of it filled, and my thoughts about how awesome it was that two Canadian indie bands were playing at such a venue kept racing through my mind. Soon enough, Metric hit the stage and as Emily Haines’ singing commenced, so did her dancing. “I couldn’t do that much physical activity for 10 minutes let alone a whole concert,” my friend said after the show; Emily was a powerhouse that night and watching her dance so energetically made me tired for her. Specifically, there was an abundance of running motions with a lot of high knee action, and I loved every minute of it. Her leather outfit and stylish heels gave a sexy rocker vibe and her singing, which matched the sound of her records perfectly, left me content.

I was excited to hear “Sick Muse” and “Dead Disco” and watch Emily constantly switch from keyboard playing to frolicking around the stage. The audience rocked out to the beats, most trying to emulate Emily’s energy and dancing. What I found most interesting was Emily’s inclusion of the rest of the band. The band’s dynamic was clearly an integral part of why the set went so smoothly; there was lots of interaction and eye contact involved among them throughout. One thing that bothered me about the show was that Metric didn’t communicate or recognize the audience as much as I would have hoped, something their opening band was more attentive to. I would have liked to have heard a little more personalization, for it would have helped me connect to who Metric were as people rather than just musically.

All in all, I had a great night enjoying some fantastic Canadian music and although I like the successful connotation behind Rogers Arena, I would have preferred a relaxed, more intimate setting. Next time Stars or Metric come to town, I hope to see them in a different venue – certainly not because I don’t think they can fill a large one, but because I believe their music resonates better in a cozier venue, a vibe a hockey arena just can’t achieve no matter how it’s dressed up.