Published Mar 23, 2013The Indies began with a pretty typical awards-show structure, albeit incongruently set in a big venue rather than a theatre. Initially, pacing was unsettling, sound struggled, and coherence suffered. Back-heavy like a full El Camino, it thankfully and somewhat suddenly morphed into a straight-ahead concert.
The one-man and canned band act is ancient history for Toronto's Diamond Rings, though he hasn't abandoned his kick-ass dance moves. Sonic strife aside, John O'Regan delivered enough of his usual unbridled energy to break through the evening's stasis.
At first, the mix struggled mightily, his crack backing band getting mired in treble. Thus, "Runaway Love" and "Wait & See" lost much of their nuance. "A to Z" fared significantly better, riding on the back of a melodramatic synth.
"I'm Just Me" and "Day and Night" took a simple but effective approach, benefitting from markedly improved sound and encouraging some writhing. The high energy remained for Matt Mays, who played an appropriately sweaty, meat-in-the-sandwich slot and solid primer for headliners Metric.
Despite the marathon evening, Emily Haines and co. emerged looking polished and lively. The indie synth stalwarts have stayed the course in recent years and their persistence has seemingly paid off with swelling crowds and singalong punters.
Leadoff "Artificial Nocturne" had a promising crystalline sound. The stadium-ready "Youth Without Youth" — think post-timeout, pre-last shot soundtrack — towered while a spirited "Speed the Collapse" prospered from Haines's glass vocals.
A mid-tempo "Help I'm Alive" offered a solid breather, though the band were better big. Of course, that's where they ended up, spurring a dance party with new cuts and old faves.
A wholly peculiar undertaking, the Indies made little sense. Still, its second half was mostly redemptive and often engaging. Thanks, Metric.