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Hollywood squares 

With a set up and light show that threatened to blow the doors off Water Street Music Hall last Thursday night, Canadian new wave/electronica band Metric positively rocked the house to a near-sold-out crowd and rabid audience.

Anticipation was high for this show, the buzz emitting from unlikely sources as the crowd was a cross section of tastes, ages, and sex. Metric picks up where New Wave left off when it opted for disco cheese or simply disintegrated into bubblegum. But it wasn't all machine. Metric is a rock band that blends guitar, bass, vocals, and real drums amidst the swirling storm of sonics, exquisite chaos, loops, and effects.

Those effects derailed the band briefly during its song "Lost Kitten," when one of the loops or a drum trigger failed. The light show was spectacular, resembling something like the set of "Hollywood Squares" or one of those Japanese video games that causes seizures. Beneath these lights the band comes off understated, looking more like stock rock 'n' rollers than the Gary Numan disciples you might expect.

The Crawdiddies have arisen from the ashes of the weekly Son House Night over at Beale Street, and from the soul of dobro slinger Gordon Munding. The band celebrated the release of its "Soul of a Man" CD Monday night to a big crowd at the Record Archive with a two rollicking sets featuring songs from its country-blues-based canon.

The band shifted gears nicely from Mississippi John Hurt lowdown dirt and denim to some swank T-Bone Walker gabardine sophistication. The edge that Munding exhibited through his take on House's lonesome refrain in the past has been replaced by the gentle ease and haunt of singer Heather Taylor, who seconds on the flute. This dame can sing. She has a deep vibrato that comes off more as a purr as she wails salty and sweet. The whole band has a genuine casualness to it, which ultimately gets under collars and skin until you can't resist any longer.

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