Metric Loto-Quebec Stage at Parc de la Francophonie, Quebec City QC July 14

Metric Loto-Quebec Stage at Parc de la Francophonie, Quebec City QC July 14
If nothing else, Emily Haines is a serious performer. Say what will of Metric's maximalist alt-indie, of Haines's penchant for teenage-poetic lyrics, or her mercurial stage presence -- but in a live setting, she's nothing short of captivating.

Bounding on stage to "Youth Without Youth," Synthetica's icy lead single, Haines -- all Jesus Christ poses and spirited lunges -- never lost her control of the audience, maintaining her boundless energy until Metric played the final note of "Gimme Sympathy," their acoustic closer.

Indeed, she smashed her tambourine like it owed her money. She careened from member to member, matching Metric's larger-than-life rhythm section, which was built for the arena.

And the thousands-strong attendees struggled to meet her intensity. The finest audience participation came during the massive "Help I'm Alive," the aforementioned "Gimme Sympathy" and, quite surprisingly, "Dreams So Real," where audience members, many linked arm to arm, struggled to overpower Haines's vocal efforts. In vain, of course.

It hardly mattered, then, that Haines didn't address the audience until their sixth song. Or that Haines relied on certain cheap thrills (see: waving a mini Quebec flag during "I Fought the War") for audience engagement. But as high-wattage, arena-packing spectacles go, Metric's among the nation's finest.