Metric, w/ Codeine Velvet Club and Nico Vega at the Hollywood Paladium
review by Brandon Gilbrech
Friday night, March 26th, Hollywood palladium, a concert goers landmark, people lined up around the block, kids wearing the latest hipster gear, girls in Metric shirts, people in jackets because of the wind. We got in quite quickly once the line started to move, the folks working security seemed to be orderly and effective, which is always nice when seeing a show.
Nico Vega, a band from our own backyard, kicked off the evening. A three piece of guitar, drums, and vocals, they sounded like the White Stripes with the love child of Janis Joplin and Bjork howling in the front. Songs of angst and rebellion dominated their set. Lead singer Aja Volkman, dancing around the stage like a woman possessed, long cape flowing as she ran, jumped, and and brandished the microphone stand like a throwing spear across the stage. During the most beautiful moment of their set, Aja disappeared and the drummer and guitar player jammed out a long call and response, blue lights bathing the stage while red highlights colored their silhouettes and cymbals, a calm moment in an otherwise stormy and rollicking set. The crowd was certainly pleased with their seemingly nonstop performance. Look for that band in and around town, they are a great time.
Codeine Velvet Club, featuring John Lawler, the guitarist and singer from the Fratelli's, was up next, hailing from Glasgow and performing a loungy 50's era influenced rock. The crowd seemed to have a more difficult time warming up to and engaging with the band, if audience participation and level of applause at the end of songs is any indication. Horns and wailing female jazz vocals over a rock backdrop just didn't work the way that it was supposed to. In their defense I had to miss their last few songs as I was attempting to deliver tickets to a friend who decided to show up late, jerk.
Codeine Velvet Club exited and we all waited with baited breath for the headliners Metric. Fantasies, their newest album, and the album they are touring to support, was amazing and I for one was terribly excited to see them perform their brand of dance-synth infused rock songs live. They walked out to little fanfare, put on their instruments and started producing noise, using bass, drums, keyboard and Theremin to warm up the crowd. The Palladium features a state of the art light show, which was used to good effect during the Metric set, although, at times the strobe lights flashed so fast and so bright that I was concerned for epileptics and my retinas. Metric opened the set proper with the song Twilight Galaxy, a slow burner that begins with nothing but a beat and prerecorded chord changes. Emily began to sing “Did they tell you/you should grow up/when you wanted/to dream?” The song ending with the entire band coming in, Emily behind a keyboard throwing her head forward and back, blonde tresses flying everywhere. They then ran quickly through tunes, pausing minimally and not speaking much to the crowd. They stuck to playing mostly songs from Fantasies and the bigger hits of their previous albums. Emily, utilizing a wireless microphone to full effect, was running all over the stage, standing with her back to the audience, leering over one shoulder to coo to the audience to the left, then snapping her head around to sing to the audience to the right, shimmying her shoulders and hips, legs exposed under her short mini-dress. Gimme Sympathy, a song rife with references to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, was begun with two lyrics from Neil Young's Hey Hey My My. This was a particularly good touch, and was the highlight of a night filled with great moments. The song before the encore was Stadium Love, a song about the populaces conspicuous consumption of entertainment, which is oddly ironic for a touring rock band. Emily and Jimmy Shaw, the guitar player, came out to finish the night with acoustic guitar and vocals. As we walked out of the venue, our ears ringing, discussing how amazing the new sound system was, and how much fun we had, we realized why seeing great bands are always worth the seemingly always escalating price of a ticket. Certain bands and performers have the ability to transport you, via their music, to a plane of higher consciousness or quasi-enlightenment. One becomes so enriched in the sound and performance that they forget about their concerns and fears, and just become one with the sound and the performers. Metric were more than capable to create such an experience and journey.
One last note independent of the review, there were these two girls we spoke to between Codeine and Metric, nice girls, attractive, and during the Metric set, some guy came up and stood crotch to ass on this girl, I noticed it but did nothing, assuming it was her boyfriend, or that she would give me a signal that something was happening that she didn't like. It turns out it definitely was not someone she knew and I was terribly remiss that I didn't do anything about it. To sum up, if you or your friends are going to a show and see something like that, do something about it, or if it's happening to you, and you don't like it, please make it known, someone nearby will notice and help you out. No one should be molested while they are trying to watch a show. Your experience shouldn't be ruined by perverts who see an opportunity because of the extra ordinary position people are put in at a show, were it is assumed that everyone will be in close quarters. It is not okay and should not be tolerated.