If you’re just coming out from under your chosen rock, Radio City Music Hall is in the middle of an unprecedented run of shows featuring contemporary, on the cusp of exploding acts. Sandwiched in-between a four night run by crooning woodsman Justin Vernon with his Bon Iver band and nights with Grizzly Bear and Gotye was the Canadian post-new wavers Metric who took full stock of their unique situation.
“Well I’ll be damned,” said Metric lead singer Emily Haines with an incredulous hand on her hip. “Unfortunately, not every day sounds like the inside of Radio City Music Hall.”
Emily and the rest of the band made it a point to not let that bittersweet truth go without delivering on a powerful set heavy on fresh material from their latest full length Synthetica. With the summer music festival now nearly complete, Metric have expanded and refined a regular touring setlist that finds a happy balance between the thematic Synthetica cuts and discography defining hits like “Gold Gun Girls”, “Help I’m Alive”, and the rollicking, encore opening “Black Sheep” which was omitted from their Lollapalooza main stage hour long performance.
During the encore, Emily began a speech that, for me, was broken up by a young woman in a black Metric shirt.
“Do you think Lou Reed will come out?” she asked.
“Well, he has a pretty good track history of showing up to New York City shows if he’s recently had a guest appearance on the band’s album. I’m one for two. Saw him come out at the Gorillaz show at MSG, but he was a no show at Metallica’s Yankee Stadium show. Did you come here alone?”
“Yes, it was totally worth it.”
Right as a I went to high five her Ms. Haines finished her speech.
“Please welcome to the stage Lou Reed.”
The rock and roll legend then emerged from the cavernous reaches of the Radio City shadows and joined Emily at center-stage. Camera phones were instantly ignited as Reed sang his Synthetica slot “The Wanderlust” followed up with a cover of his own classic with The Velvet Underground, “Pale Blue Eyes”. With a hug and a nod, Reed left the stage, and after one more song so too did most of Metric. Under a bright spotlight stood only Haines and guitarist James Shaw.
“Well it’s time to go,” said the Metric lead singer to the expected groans of disapproval of the crowd. “Here’s a lullaby.”
With that Shaw strung the opening notes of “Gimme Sympathy” on his acoustic guitar as Haines elegantly asked everyone in the audience of whom they’d rather be, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones. A nice moment for every couple in the house who found their perfect moment to make out, and a great close for a band that will hopefully be filling the hallowed halls of Radio City for years to come.
Metric performs with Lou Reed at Radio City Music Hall (9/23)