SAN FRANCISCO — Toronto indie rock band Metric and Mexico City psychedelic emo rockers Zoé brought their co-headlining tour to The Masonic Wednesday.
Metric, led by the charismatic frontwoman Emily Haines, performed songs from its new album, Art of Doubt, full of synth pop, new wave and dance-rock, switching off between indietronica and aggressive rock with distorted and sharp guitars. Besides the new songs, Metric dove into songs of its more recent albums and older work, including the popular 2009 album Fantasies.
Opening with Fantasies track “Twilight Galaxy,” Haines and co. transitioned to “Synthetica,” the title track off the 2012 album of the same name. Driving rhythms of synths and a defined bass line balanced the raw and smooth guitar sounds of Jimmy Shaw and contrasted them with Haines’ soft, sugary vocals. Metric followed those up with a mix of new cuts like “Risk,” “Art of Doubt” and “No Lights on the Horizon” with Synthetica‘s “Breathing Underwater” and “Artificial Nocturne,” “Cascades” (2015’s Pagans in Vegas) and “Dead Disco,” from 2003’s Old World Underground, Where Are You Know?
Metric finished its main set with fan-favorite Fantasies cuts “Gimme Sympathy,” “Sick Muse,” “Black Sheep” and “Gold Guns Girls.” The encore included a couple more new tunes as well as the band’s biggest hit, “Help I’m Alive,” also from Fantasies.
Zoé, one of the most recognizable bands of the Latin American alternative rock scene, preceded Metric with a considerable different type of music. The quintet’s songs incorporated psych rock, emo and ’90s Britpop, all of which was mixed alongside singer León Larregui’s soft vocals. Zoé opened with soft rock tune “No Hay Mal Que Dure,” from 2018 album Aztlán and the fast-paced “Últimos Días” from 2008’s Reptilectric. The latter song is 11 years old but still had a fresh sound that fits into the fabric of contemporary music.
Other songs included “10 A.M.,” from 2013’s Prográmaton and new cut “Azul.” Zoé has been together for 15 years and the strength and diversity of its catalog shined on acoustic ballad “Poli.” Other songs were more poppy, like Aztlán‘s“Temor y Temblor” and “Hielo.” Older material included “Vía Láctea,” off 2006’s Memo Rex Commander y el Corazón Atómico de la Vía Láctea. That was followed by “Oropel,” “Polar” and unreleased track “Labios Rotos.”
Canadian alt-rock band July Talk, led by singers Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis, opened the concert with their fiery vocal interplay and the band’s blues rock rhythms and synth stabs. The band’s set included songs from its 2012 self-titled debut album and 2016’s Touch, such as “Summer Dress,” “Guns + Ammunition” and “Beck + Call.”
The emotional tension between the singers was an impressive calling card for the band, with Fay smoothing the songs with her ethereal sighs and Dreimanis growling along. July Talk’s set concluded with “Picturing Love” and “Push + Pull,” both from Touch.
Follow photographer Joaquin Cabello at Instagram.com/joaquinxcabello.