It’s been nine years since multi-time Juno winning indie rockers Metric have graced Newfoundland and Labrador with their trippy, infectious and always irresistible brand of music. It was the Spring of 2010. Juno time in fact, the last time that St. John’s has hosted the biggest awards event in Canada.
Founding member and guitarist James ‘Jimmy’ Shaw remembers it well.
“That was the night before the Junos, the same weekend,” Shaw reminisces of the, to date, final Metric performance on the island. “And then the whole thing with the ash clouds coming in from Iceland happened and everyone got stuck there and we got the last flight out that night. (Justin) Bieber was on the flight, Bublé was on the flight and it was just such a s**t show trying to get out. We had a car parked in front of the airport for like three hours trying to get on that flight. We basically just sat in the car drinking the entire time. By the time we got on the flight everyone was like relieved but we were just hammered.”
Both artist and interviewer laugh. Can you imagine that flight, with those personalities, in 2019 we ask?
“No I can’t,” laughs Shaw. “I have a hard time imagining it in 2010 let alone 2019.”
Nearly a decade later, multiple Juno wins, sold out arena tours and treks across the globe and three more acclaimed albums and Metric are back. The indie rockers headline night two of the Iceberg Alley Performance Tent this Thursday September 12th. Shaw is a fan of the island, to say the least.
“It’s a totally different vibe,” he says of Newfoundland and Labrador days before the group touches down for their anticipated returning headline slot.
“And I mean you guys are known for being the kindest, most hilarious, the sweetest, self-deprecating, friendliest, funniest people that the country has. I’ve never heard anyone say ‘Oh I just got back from Newfoundland and it was really boring’ No it’s really not the issue that anyone’s ever going to have out there. So I just always expect to hang out with great people and have a really good time.”
The band, fronted by the ever talented Emily Haines, has grown leaps and bounds from their 2003 studio debut Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?
The sound, though distinctive in every way and classically Metric, has changed. But the commitment of the group to tapping into an almost out-of-body experience in the live setting, has not.
“I think what we really try to do is we try to include everybody and try to make it an experience for everyone, whether they’re a fan of one song or whether they’re a fan of seven records and you kind of get to hear everything,” Shaw explains. “We’ve always been very focused on having the most kind of transcendent experience that we can in a live setting. That is the church of rock and roll is the show. The records are just the teachings and the book. We’re trying to make everybody forget everything that’s going on in their lives and have a unified transcendent experience with each other.
“I’ve seen a lot of shows of bands that come back and play 90 per cent of their new record and you’ve got to wait an hour and 40 minutes to hear a song you recognize. I don’t think we would ever do that. It’s just so not part of our ethos. I think that some artists for some reason enjoy sort of torturing the audience and then giving them like a biscuit at the end whereas to us it’s like I don’t want to see sad faces, I don’t want to see frustration. I want to see elation and I want to see people’s minds and spirits hitting the ceiling. And I think that we do whatever we can to just sort of bring that wherever we go.”
Metric takes to the Iceberg Alley Performance Tent this Thursday. Tickets still available at the official Iceberg Alley website and at Orange Store etix kiosks island-wide.
Stay tuned to The Newfoundland Herald for our full in-depth Q&A with James ‘Jimmy’ Shaw of Metric.