The curtains come up. I look over at Brett and yell, “It’s 30 Seconds to Mars! And that’s Jared Leto!” The guitarist’s hair is straight and shiny and as the light reveals him more honestly he more so resembles Michael Pitt during a beer drinking phase. The opening act, Sebastien Grainger, is a motley crew of queer doppelgangers. The lead singer wears a Nascar/Elvis inspired jumpsuit, looking like Freddy Mercury as played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers with facial hair. The keyboardist is a strange lovechild of Mario and Luigi. He’s got the height of his momma and the ‘stache of papa. He hangs a tambourine around, gyrates epileptically in his designated area. His curly hair shoots out of a sweatband and his stiff, white over-sized shirt reminds me of the waiters at the Red Dragon Chinese Restaurant in West Hills.
They rock out admirably hard for an opening band. They even go through the dramatic trouble of removing the whole band, save fake Freddy for a sentimental solo. He is bathed in the white spotlight and I feel like I am watching The Phantom of the Opera all over again. When he’s done crooning thirty seconds later the band is back on the stage perform the rest of the song. In between songs the singer makes what I think are jokes but he snorts them out pretty quickly. I can’t decide if I’m at an Eagles of Death Metal show or watching Dane Cook at the Laugh Factory.
Brett has given me a pair of white earplugs to soften the blow to my delicate hearing and I am appreciative. I do, however, liken it to wearing a condom. While you are safe and protected, you just don’t feel it. During Metric’s last song later in the evening I entice him to take them out for just a moment while they do a quiet acoustic set, just to hear the hum of the speakers and the rustling of the crowd…all of the details that get censored when you attempt to save your ears. When it sounds as though they’re going to crank up the tunes again, we slip the plugs back into their appropriate holes. I look over at Brett and yell, “It’s like playing ‘Just the Tip’!”
The earplugs have the added bonus feature of making the conversations around me more audible than the music being played on stage. The girls behind us are loud and yell things like “I love your mustache!” and “I want to fuck you!” and when the roadies are on stage moving equipment they yell “I want to have sex with all of you…at the same time!” I turn to investigate the age of these potty mouth horn dogs, guessing 7th grade in maturity but most likely 10th grade in reality. I am assaulted by one pair of ironic hipster glasses and four pairs of rather large boobs. I had assumed that their hollering and panting would cease when Metric comes on (female singer, Emily Haines) but these girls are unstoppable maniacs.
“I would go lesbian for you!”
“Emily!!! Emily Haines!!!”
“You’re so sexy!!!!!!”
“She’s so sexy!”
“OH MY GOOODDDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!”
They’re right to be riled up for her. She’s petite and adorable and thoughtfully fashionable. She comes on stage silent and covered in a form-hugging, gold-sequined dress, platinum blond shaggy hair, and a sparkly Chanel-esq black jacket. They start playing. She headbangs dangerously while she toys with the keyboard. She is most definitely a good time. At the end of their first song a cobalt blue light pours over them and on us like a technicolor fog. The effect is used multiple times, interchanging between that blue and a gold that matches her outfit. It doesn’t get any less mesmerizing.
It’s a good time this show. The group to my right bounces up and down endlessly. The floor thuds under the pressure of moving bodies. I note that they too are about ten years my junior and I wonder if I’m too old to like this music. Brett reassures me that there are other people here our age and I stop worrying. A group of girls look at each other and scream the lyrics, dance holding hands, bound about spryly. I am reminded of a piece of myself. Their mother’s are probably picking them up afterward. For most of the show I am trapped behind two taller boys with shaggy hair, whose backlit forms open and close to reveal the stage like prop wooden forests in a ballet production. Occasionally the screaming girls behind me catch strands of my hair with their bracelets and I’ll feel the twang of my locks being removed violently. The place liberally layers the smell of vomit, Barbasol shave cream, and human sweat. Oh rock and roll, I love thee.