The Canadian trio, known for their raucous and tumultuous live shows, are arguably Toronto’s best kept secret. Exploding onto the scene last year with their self-titled Sub Pop Records debut, the band quickly became known for their outrageous velocity and extreme performances. For many (including myself) tonight would be the first time they would experience these notorious shows, and see if METZ could successfully transcend the energy of their album onto the live stage.
Following their support, Bilge Pump, the band have a great deal of pressure to perform. However, opening with ‘Knife In The Water’ METZ immediately kicks the crowd off into frenzy, and assures the audience that they can live up to the hype of their album. Citing bands such as Mudhoney, Jesus Lizard and Fugazi as strong influences on the band’s ethos and style, their shows certainly reflect this as they channel the destructive and enthralling energy that punk shows from the early ‘90s produced. This is particularly apparent in the sheer volume of the show. The noise and uproar that the band creates is incredible. Drummer Hayden Menzies attacks the drums with thunderous power, and hardly stops for a break, while front man Alex Edkin manically screams down the microphone and does not stand still for a single minute.
However, this is aggressive music done with a smile. There’s an ironic softness to the band as they are extremely gracious and in tune with the crowd, so much so that they chose to play on the floor instead of the stage so that they could be “real nice and close” to the fans. There’s also humbleness to them as bassist, Chris Slorach, points out that some of the fans had been at their previous shows in Leeds, and that he appreciated them coming out to see them again. These important conversations are not too long though, and the band instantly kicks back into the set, delivering thirty minutes of sheer chaos.
Their set list is well crafted, mostly of songs from the debut album. Standout tracks such as ‘Headache’ and ‘Wet Blanket’ are extremely well received by the audience and literally cause them to fall onto the band with excitement. The band don’t hesitate or panic in this instance though and continue to play through their album with extreme ferocity, as well as delivering a few surprise tracks not off the album, such as ‘Dirty Shirt’.
The fan base appears to be mixed, from fans in their forties trying to relive the magic of early ‘80s punk bands, to the younger generation of fans who want to live it themselves and appreciate an actually decent post-punk band. The buzz and vitality of the audience does not let up for one minute though, and they are left wanting more of the band after they finish with ‘Wet Blanket’. It would appear that the anxiety that new fans, and myself had about the band’s capacity to perform has been completely obliterated.