Alternative rock is alive and well in Madison. This past Saturday, the Orpheum Theater on State Street hosted a show for the veteran group Metric with the up-and-coming band Joywave as their opener. The show was scheduled for 8:00 p.m. and, to my satisfaction, was right on schedule. A combination of these two alternative synth-pop groups resulted in a show that literally shook the theater.
Joywave is moving up in the world of alternative music. However, based on the beginning of their set you wouldn’t expect that they have the potential to make crowds get up and dance. The songs they started with, while very entertaining, didn’t get the crowd as excited and active as one would expect. But, just because they had a slow start doesn’t mean they weren’t able to turn things around.
By four songs in, it seemed as if their performance took a complete one-eighty. Songs changed from light electronic-indie to hard-hitting dance rock and the crowd loved it. People danced to the music and it was clear that the crowd was feeling the energy. It took the band a while to get there, but Joywave’s set was entertaining overall. They were the perfect warm-up for the musical spectacle to come just a few minutes later.
Metric’s show was the best of two worlds. Their crawling synthpop gave the audience a sense of calmness and their electro-rock got everyone riled up to dance. The beginning of Metric’s set can only be described as a trance. A combination of long-lasting electronic beats and guitars equipped with heavy reverb seemed to make the theater and everybody in it resonate as one. A progression of songs built off the energy from the previous song, and after a few tracks, the show was in full swing.
Flashing lights set to the beat of the music gave the show another layer of entertainment. Each song had a distinct feel thanks to the fantastic dazzling background.
Bouncing back and forth between fast paced alt-rock songs and slow synthetic ballads made the show more engaging and fun for the audience. When you would start to get tired from dancing like crazy, the music would slow down and the crowd could relax and enjoy the beautiful combination of synthesizers alongside deep percussion. The show kept gaining momentum as the veteran band played some of their biggest hits including “Gold Guns Girls” and “The Shade”. Regardless of the speed of the song, there wasn’t a single moment when the audience wasn’t singing along.
Perhaps one of the most memorable moments was when the group brought out the guests with VIP tickets. Those with the special tickets had the pleasure to meet the band before the show and it was revealed that they had a sing-along backstage. Emily Haines, lead singer of Metric, decided it would be fun to bring them on stage to perform their backstage jam session. The band invited the whole crowd to sing along with them to an acoustic version of “Dreams So Real." Everyone seemed to connect at that moment and it was a really cool experience.
Metric’s experience really pays off in their shows. There was nothing but happiness coming from every member of the band. They’ve definitely mastered the art of performing and it was a complete pleasure to watch.