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Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton - REVIEW

The live show of a musician is the true representation of an artist. It is all right there in front of you; the voice, the struggle, beauty and ugliness. When a dry mouth opens so awkwardly, but then a beautiful noise escapes. The picture might not look good, but goose bumps on an arm feel good.

One thing is for certain: Watching Emily Haines is not watching Metric. Sharing piano solos and quietness between word and rhythm, Haines captured the spotlight purely by being a singer/songwriter and not a "sex" icon.

That raw quality is what Emily Haines has been sharing with us since she stepped foot on stage with Metric. But now, we see her differently. Her lyrics are wise and her hands aren't holding a microphone, but rather, cradling a piano.

Singing Doctor Blind, "If the dizzying highs don't subside overnight / Doctor Blind, just prescribe the red ones", the music hall seemed like a lonely place. But the sold-out show was breathing intensely with inspiration and happiness.

Truth is, when Haines came on stage, I was expecting her to be wearing a black dress or something similiar to Metric-wear. Why her clothing even mattered, I'm not sure. The crowd was excited when she quickly walked to her piano and gave us a short wave, looking both nervous and fragile.

Wearing washed out jeans and a sweater, Haines looked thin and tired. We were all tired, especially the kids who waited outside for two hours to get a close seat. But when Haines opened her mouth, and the words she wrote came out, everyone woke up. It was like a new morning, really.

Many instruments surrounded Emily, a tiny woman with a powerful, at times, raspy voice. Haines' kept tapping her running shoes to the floor, keeping beat with the drummer and bassist. There were violins, trumpet and a programmer at the side of the stage. The backdrop behind the band was a video of black and white images of women smiling, a beach, and other small, vague glimpses of everyday life.

Between songs Haines talked with the crowd about random subjects, like whether or not the past is better than the future. The crowd loved this. Before singing The Maid Needs A Maid, she asked about feminism. Not many in the audience answered. Haines started singing with a smile, "Bros before hos / disagree on the sidelines Fight for a fee / the man needs a maid / The maid needs a maid."

Many of us females who watched Haines perform, wondered what it'd be like to be her. I bet it would be hard, but damn worth it.


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