I honestly can’t remember how many shows I’ve seen at Metropolis (I refuse to call it by its new name). But I’ve seen so many that they all start to blend after a little while. But tonight’s show would become a memorable one. Entering the venue tonight, I was getting ready to see two of Canada’s most beloved bands, July Talk and Metric. Full disclosure, these bands could not be further away from my spectrum of music, so I went in with absolutely no expectations. And I ended up having one hell of a fantastic time.
Opening the evening was Murray A. Lightburn. If that name sounds familiar to you, then you’re familiar with another beloved Canadian act, The Dears. Lightburn is the lead vocalist and songwriter of that band. Tonight, he was taking things down a few notches. It was just him and an acoustic guitar, and well, this set cemented in my mind why Murray is a damn legend. His incredibly soulful voice, paired with the soft, yet intricate chords of his guitar created some wonderful music. Being able to witness it live was a special treat. A treat that I wish more people in the crowd appreciated. I’m not sure if it’s because people were there for a different “vibe,” but I couldn’t believe how many people went on talking during his set. Regardless, I tried to focus on Lightburn and his music, and when I did, it was a perfect, sombre and beautiful beginning to the evening. Do yourself a huge favour and check out Lightburn’s latest release, Hear Me Out.
Up next was co-headliner of the evening, July Talk. So, my primary experience with this band comes from their radio hits. I saw them a few years ago at Osheaga and thought they were pretty great, but still hadn’t bothered to listen to the rest of their albums. That’s going to change because July Talk’s music kicks so much ass. Their live show is frantic and high-energy the entire way through. They played songs like “Summer Dress,” “The News,” and “Push + Pull.” Naturally, one of the most amazing aspects of July Talk’s live show is the vocals of Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay. If you thought they sounded good on record, then you need to hear them live. They sound great and both vocalists have a fantastic ability to entrance the crowd. I especially appreciate how the band preaches a message of love. Everyone is welcome at their shows, and they make it known. At one point, Leah got down to the barrier and held hands with fans, truly showing her appreciation of the crowd. She told us how she went to Concordia and studied Contemporary Dance. She has a special bond with Montreal, which translated to an amazing performance not just by her, but by the entire band.
Metric finally hit the stage and wasted no time launching into “Dead Disco,” easily one of the best Metric songs they’ve ever recorded (in my opinion). The crowd ate it up, as Emily and the gang got everyone dancing, jumping, swaying and generally having a great time. Backed by an awesome light show, Metric played a career spanning set, including songs like “Breathing Underwater,” “Gimme Sympathy,” “Art of Doubt” and “Sick Muse.” Metric bring one of the highest energy shows you’ll ever see, seriously. You can almost feel it in the air. Everyone was in a good mood and dancing along with the music. You would think the energy would dissipate as it got later in the evening, but if anything, it got better. By the time Metric came on stage for their encore, neither the band nor the crowd was slowing down. They played a few more songs including “Black Sheep” and “Help I’m Alive,” then waved goodbye to the crowd as they walked off. It was undoubtedly an emotional moment for both July Talk and Metric. It was the last night of the tour and both were appreciative of the fact that they got to tour together. We can only hope they one day decide to tour together again because this is one tour you shouldn’t miss if it rolls into your town.
Written by Dominic Abate
Photography by Amanda Hiscock
*edited by Mike Milito