There is a certain irony to booking a band such as Metric in a soft seater, where the likelihood of those seats being used is unlikely. It’s not too often that you see acts with an ability to rattle rafters like Metric, grace a stage such as the Cohn. It’s an interesting choice of venue, one that was a head-scratcher before settling in, and became clearly apparent that it was the perfect choice after exiting the concert venue.
When you think of the Rebecca Cohn, or the Dal Arts Centre for that matter, the first, second or third thought is not rock n’ roll venue. It is a beautifully upgraded space, that has played host to legendary acts (Gord Downie, Gordon Lightfoot), and is an intimate, soft-seated room that’s a fantastic place to see acts like Sarah McLachlan, Sarah Harmer, Tegan and Sara, as well as non-Sara(h) acts such as Blue Rodeo, Hayden, and/or Neko Case.
Typically, when you see a show in the Rebecca Cohn, the only time people are standing is for an ovation at the end of the night. For an act that typically plays to general admission audiences, it’s a bit much to ask folks to suppress the need to move and bop along to the stacked setlist which includes all of the Metric jams that fans want to hear, including “Help I’m Alive”, “Gold Guns Girls”, or “Now or Never Now”. There were some folks who would have preferred to watch this show from their seats but had to join the masses by standing up and bopping along.
Formentera dropped back in early July, the band’s 8th studio album. The lead single “Doomscroller” not only opened the show but is also the namesake of the band’s tour, which is wrapping its Canada dates here in Halifax over September 1st and 2nd. The band will then take a breather for a couple of weeks, before commencing the US leg of the tour. The songs off the new record fit into the band’s set as seamlessly as if they’ve been there for years. Lead single “All Comes Crashing” is loaded early in the set, sandwiched between “Dark Saturday” and fan favourite “Help I’m Alive”, but it’s later in the set when the electro-pop gem “Paths in the Sky” sparkles with this delicate and earnest verve, that is a definite highlight of the night.
Metric’s co-founder and lead vocalist Emily Haines has a distinct and immediately identifiable sound, one which shimmers and shines, and needs a venue to buoy that. The band is no stranger to Halifax, having played at several local venues including the Halifax Forum, Cunard Centre, Halifax Jazz Festival and the Scotiabank Centre, and while these are all big established spaces, none are renowned for their acoustics. That is where the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium comes in, as a space that is known for its sound quality. The moment that Emily Haines’ vocals lifted into the chorus of “Doomscroller”, it was immediately apparent why the band was booked to play this room.
The folks headed to the Dal Arts Centre tonight are certainly in for a treat, but they better ensure to get there early so that they can experience Bartees Strange. He and his crew have been supporting Metric on this tour, and last night they put on one hell of an opening set with their tapestry of funk, folk and good ol’ rock ‘n roll. Highly recommend that you check them out. I headed into the Cohn last night liking Metric, but by the time to head back out into the Halifax night, I came to the realization that I have developed a love for the band and their growing catalogue of aural confections.