Smile Smile's decision to head out on tour with Emily Haines and Metric instead of sticking it out for Quick's Big Thing tonight is forgivable.
The last time Metric came to town, it was for the 94/9 Independence Jam in Oceanside. The Canadian quartet had third billing at the outdoor festival, overshadowed by big-name groups the Black Keys and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but that didn't stop them from blowing those bands away with their infectious, moody synth-pop.
Now, Metric are set to wow us again. The band is playing San Diego Indiefest on March 27, and this time they're at the top of the bill.
Of course, having top billing at Indiefest isn't that impressive a feat -- the purpose of the festival is to highlight lesser-known bands, and the extensive lineup consists almost entirely of the obscure. The two-day event begins March 26 with a day devoted entirely to independent films. The festival will shift its focus to music the following day, commandeering seven stages throughout North Park and showcasing more than 100 bands.
Of those myriad performers, the New Up are a clear standout. Like Metric, the San Francisco five-piece specializes in dark, dreamy rock with gorgeous female vocals. Last year, the band released Better Off, the second in a planned trilogy of EPs that show off the band's sultry, tempestuous sound. Lead singer ES Pitcher's soaring vocals are worth the price of admission alone, and all you flute enthusiasts out there will be pleased to know that the band has one of those, too.
Metric are scheduled to play at 9:30 p.m. on the Durga Sound Main Stage, and, because it wouldn't be a music festival without some frustrating conflicts, the New Up go on at the same time, but on the Green Stage. Metric get the edge but, if that stage is too crowded, the New Up will be perfectly happy to console you.