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Emily Haines @ The Viper Room
Last night we were invited to see Emily Haines of Metric play her solo album for the first time in Los Angeles at the Viper Room. We weren’t familiar with Metric’s catalog and had only been to one Metric show before that resulted in a Metric fan strong-arming us out of the way of the stage resulting in our subsequent departure. That being said we went in not really knowing what to expect.
We arrived at 8:30 sharp, the time stated on the Viper Room’s website and a line snaked around the building with disaffected youths milling about, wandering into and out of the pizza joint across the street and the liquor store on the corner. The smell of cigarette smoke was thick in the air as an aging black man crooned Frank Sinatra and Frankie Lymon songs for change, telling each person, “Like my Nana says, it’s not what you give, it’s what’s in your heart” and for each of us to find our “Love-passion.” Characters like this make every visit to Sunset Boulevard worth the drive.
They finally started letting us in after 8:45 and after our ingress we made our way to the bar for a couple seven dollar pints of Fat Tire (The best beer they had on tap) and found a spot to properly watch the show. As time ticked by we began to grow concerned if this Emily Haines person would ever come out on stage. It was at this moment that we noticed that it was probably about 75 degrees in there and everyone was wearing a blazer. Hipsters must always be cold! In the interim we had a conversation with a couple Metric fans about the downer music that the DJ was playing before Emily came out on stage and Metric fans. We invented a back story for the mellow young man controlling the music and felt for him as we assumed his girlfriend had just torn their union asunder and his job at the Viper Room was all he had. They assured us that the experience we had at the other show would not be repeated, but we were still wary.
Emily soon made her way to the stage with her back-up band "The Soft Skeleton" a mere 45 minutes before her second performance of the night was scheduled to start and immediately started in with her set. The music was accompanied by repeating video clips from the films of Guy Maddin. The clips of girls and men in snow and soft focus were somewhat haunting but supported the desolate and lugubrious tones of Ms. Haines voice. Emily commented on the talkative nature of Los Angeles crowds and sarcastically said that it creates "such an environment."
The sound was well suited to the space, but we very much didn't fit in with the dour, demure crowd. The music was a touch haunting and definitely had a beautiful but sullen tone that makes us want to hear it again. Emily Haines's debut solo album , "Knives Don't Have Your Back" will be released in the United States on this Tuesday the twenty-sixth of September.
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