Metric @ The HiFi, Sydney (26/07/2012)

Hailing from Ballarat, indie rockers Gold Fields began the evening’s affair with their dance influence seeping through a combination of synth layered sweeps, arpeggios and heavy drums. Drummer Ryan D’Sylia’s powerful wallops ensured the audience knew what they were in for, a heavy 4/4 beat and a snare so punchy; Tyson himself would have had a difficult time reflecting it. Drawing on the distorted reverb ridden vocal styles of MGMT and M83, Gold Fields’ sound spurred the audience on readily with their hits Tree House and Move.

It comes as no surprise, that Metric, off the back of their recently self-released fifth LP Synthetica; a Blade Runner-esque look at the real through all things factitious and simulated, that they would opt to provide a stark disparity to the album’s thematics, presenting a raw, intense and surprisingly intimate live show at the HiFi. Armed with a handful of analogue synthesisers, a traditional three piece rock outfit of instruments, no backdrop and a minimalist approach to lighting Metric’s performance was anything but artificial.

Opening with the fuzz guitar and synth of Artificial Nocturne, Metric’s set largely consisted of the melancholy woes of Synthetica. The HiFi provided the perfect mise-en-scene for such punkish anthemics. The eerie tremolo guitar of Speed the Collapse hushed the mostly teen crowd into a lull of silence before the explosively chaotic chorus engulfed the space. As expected, Emily Haines’ vocals were nothing short of mesmerizing, from the seductive innocence of Lost Kitten to the powerful la la’s of Dead Disco. The latter, seeing Haines striking poses indicative of a model strutting the catwalk, whilst a floor fan blew her hair back in a perfect moment of rock n roll sexuality.

The epileptic inducing strobes of Synthetica proved a crowd winner, before drummer Joules Scott-Key’s epic snare driven outro pushed forth a momentary intensity only to segue into the chilled Clone. Stadium Love and Help, I’m Alive from the Fantasies album provided a much needed pop sensibility amongst the vast array of drawn-out resonant synth sounds throughout the set.

For the majority, guitarist James Shaw honed his soloing skills, extending the intervals into new realms of liveliness, hardly allowing for a seconds breath. Such immersion left many slightly puzzled but nonetheless ecstatic when Haines and Shaw performed Gimme Sympathy acoustically. The surprise stripped back rendition, pulling down the barriers between audience and performer, approaching intimacy with such an apparent lack of restraint, no one could resist singing “Come on baby play me something, like here comes the sun”.