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Emily Haines Brings Out ‘Knives’

Watching Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton’s performance at Hiro Ballroom was like witnessing a noir film unfold. There were dark tales of knives and sexual suicide, which were relayed through an echoed whisper. There were also the stark black-and-white projected film clips by Guy Maddin that ranged from innocent (a couple hugging in the snow) to grisly (severed hands and bleeding eye sockets) to literal (the words “Tragic” and “End of the World” stretched across the screen). And of course, at the center of it all was a woman of mystery. Backed by a string quartet, drummer, and guitarist, Haines unveiled her solo material off Knives Don’t Have Your Back, including “Our Hell,” “Detective Daughter,” “The Lottery,” and a joint performance of “The Woods” with opening act Tall Firs. “It’s like Broken Social Scene all over again,” the Metric frontwoman quipped from the crowded stage. And, unlike most dark thrillers, this story had a happy ending: after a chilling rendition of “Winning,” she declared, “Everything is okay in the whole world.” GINNY YANG / PHOTOS BY ERIC NOWELS

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Review: Emily Haines – Knives Don’t Have Your Back

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We asked: What other director/musician collaboration would you like to see onstage? COMMENT