So here we were, Saturday in Manchester. Metric‘s new album Synthetica has been out for a week or two. Not unexpectedly it went into the Canadian charts at number 2, but also, and more significantly, entered the US Billboard chart at 12. The band are over on our side of the pond, zig-zagging back and forth between London and Amsterdam, with a neat side trip up to see us lovely folks up north. We ourselves have been in town since early, enough to for a stroll past tonight’s Ritz Theatre venue mid-afternoon, in time to catch the first two fans queuing up outside at around 4pm, both wearing the tee-shirts, not of Metric themselves, but of related Canadian acts Stars and Feist. We exchange a few words, wander off, then come back at our allotted time and are asked to please wait in this alleyway alongside the theatre. OK, whatever you say, you’re the management…
After a short few minutes, as we squint into the sun, we see a couple of familiar figures coming down the box-gorge between the warehouse buildings. Sure enough it’s Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw, and they’re ready to talk as bluntly as you like about their lives, and particularly their view of the ‘industry’; the things that have led them to do things very firmly their own way, even at the expense of being seen as slight oddities. Most record deals are a ‘scam’ apparently.
Slightly surreally, Emily suggests that we take ourselves for a leisurely walk along the towpath of the Rochdale Canal onto which the theatre backs. It’s a sunny backwater, and a quiet evening to stroll, you’d never guess that we were only 500m from the bustle of Canal Street itself. Just to add to the atmosphere, we’re followed by a video camera, recording our every move.