This is made immediately clear at the start of their set at the O2 ABC as they emerged wearing rubber animal heads, shining flashlights into the audience while a spoken word intro played. Some may regard it as pretentious, some just think they just know how to put on a show. However you feel about it, you should get used to it because it carries on throughout the night.
The set involves a huge number of jacket changes, light up glasses and a fan pointed at lead singer Emily Haines throughout the set, blowing her hair and jackets wildly as she danced round the stage.
It's not like it's all style – no substance though. By all means, they have the songs to back it up.
After being a band for 17 years, Metric have quite the catalogue of songs. What's interesting are the songs selected for their setlist. They leave singles like Sick Muse, Stadium Love and Lost Kitten but play non-album track Black Sheep and Live It Out ballad Empty.
The best surprise of the night was when they played stunning Fantasies crooner, Collect Call. Like the recording, there's so much space in the song, making it a brave choice for a live set. It is, however, one of their best tracks and was one of the night's best moments.
An interesting aspect was seeing how Pagans would translate live. Metric predominantly play with a classic rock backline and Pagans In Vegas is essentially a dance record. While in most cases James Shaw's guitar would simply be turned slightly down or put through a series of effects, Haines, Shaw and bassist Joshua Winstead also made use of synthesisers which would roll about onstage. The flexibility of the band didn't end there with Burrows even playing the theremin at one point.
Even though Shaw produced Pagans in Vegas, it seems the band are making it up to him with their live performances. Huge guitar solos were implemented into Gold, Girls, Guns, Synthetica and The Shade. The solo in The Shade was so enjoyable, it's a wonder why it wasn't included on the recorded version. For an album so laden with synth tracks, it would have been refreshing to just hear Shaw wail on his axe for a song.
It may be because I grew up a pop-punk kid but one of the disappointing aspects of the concert was the docile nature of the audience. Aside from a couple pogoers and a few people pumping their fist 'like a hammer' during Help I'm Alive, the audience participation was minimal. It was relieving when Haines and Shaw played an acoustic version of Gimme Sympathy and the entire crowd sang along. This stripped back version with hundreds of Glaswegians singing backing vocals was incredibly moving, however, it would have been great to hear at least some of the fantastically produced track in its original form afterwards.
They closed with Breathing Underwater. It seemed odd that a band with such an extensive back catalogue would play a song so recent last, however, it worked. Not only is the song such a perfectly euphoric way to end a gig, it also serves as a statement. Even after 17 years, Metric are still hitting creative highs.