By Drea Atkins Photos by Kim Casanova
The Fillmore was packed for 106.5 The End’s Not So Acoustic Christmas, benefitting Kids First Carolinas. It was clear from the audience reaction that Los Angeles electronic band, AWOLNATION, was the hot ticket for the evening’s lineup. The stage saturated in red light, thick with smoke, and the moment Aaron Bruno’s shadowy form appeared the entire room came alive with screaming and jumping fans. Starting the show with a “hit them hard, hit them fast” mindset, AWOLNATION shook the audience from their long wait between bands. Playing well-known hits, like “Hollow Moon,” “Sail,” and “I Am” created familiarity and the crowd chanted and danced along with fists in the air. The lighting and smoke was almost impermeable, encouraging everyone to get into the groove with abandon.
The Canadian foursome, Metric, played its mixture of synthy dance rock earlier in the evening. Lead singer, Emily Haines, had a parade of costume changes in their relatively short set. She opened the performance adorned with what looked like a space age, goth peacock feather costume with lights on it. The piece itself was so large on her diminutive frame and certainly caught everyone’s attention, but it also seemed to distract from her delicately lilting voice.Third song in, they cranked up into “Help I’m Alive” and the crowd finally plugged in and started singing along. Metric is full of solid talent, steady rhythms and danceable tunes.
Toward the end of their set, Emily in a gold cape wielding a guitar, the rock edge of Metric’s music exploded into the full expression of a live show. Seeing the band linger in this energy was brief but a real treat. Ending their set with the latest radio single, “Breathing Underwater,” Emily engaged the crowd in a sing-a-long and it was a lovely way to end the performance. Hearing the venue sing as one, the entire band standing shoulder to shoulder swaying and smiling invited the Christmas spirit.
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