Metz were the opening band, but “I came only to see you guys,” I say to Metz’ Alex Edkins and Hayden Menzies as the three of us hang outside Vancouver’s Biltmore Cabaret.
It’s just us, cigarettes, rain all around, and I can only hope that my verbal groping comes out sounding cooler than it reads. Probably doesn’t, but who gives a toss, right? When was the last time I got excited about a new band from Toronto? Not since Diamond Rings and that’s another bag of MAC makeup all together.
Look, see, I grew up in Toronto, great place wouldn’t want to live there anymore but I’ll go drinking there, good bands. But for the last little while? A 501 streetcar-sized amount of MEH. There’s been nothing sparky. Nothing FIZZY. Nothing that would drag my ass from the West End to the East End in the rain for an opening set.
Until now. So I followed a murmur (that’s what happens before Pitchfork anoints you and you become slathered in buzz) and I’m not really sure how or why my ears landed here, but they did. Metz’ self-titled debut came out early October, it clocks in at something below half-an-hour like all good punk should and woah, SubPop, you signed a good one.
For polite guys from the Tdot still adorably blushing at the attention, Edkins, Menzies and bassist Chris Slorach play ferocious, fuzzed-out, top-of-the-cymbal-crash post-hardcore punk rock. But not that mindless rager stuff. The vocals sound metallic (as in clangy metal not heavy metal) and there’s Thee Oh Sees here, a swathe of David Yow, and moments from the most mental of early Sonic Youth. It’s too heavy to be most indie/alt rock, too smart to be dumb punk. It’s not rocket science and it’s been done before, but not for a while. And live? It possesses the power to unlace 8-hole Docs.
Tonight, Nov 1, at the Bilt, and opening for Vancouver’s Ladyhawk, the band are lit like they’re playing their parents’ basement. Nothing at all on Slorach or Edkins (“heh, that’s just the way I like it” the singer says afterwards, changed into a much-respected Teenage Fanclub shirt and drinking beers at the back) so you just gotta TRUST the assault is coming from someone, or wait until Slorach lurches into one of Menzies’ two flanking floodlights. It’s like the time Unknown Mortal Orchestra opened for Yuck here with NO lights and you thought it was wanky until you gave into the music.
But anyway. That Menzies guy? Ace drummer, arms above shoulders, all AN-I-MAL!!!! and tattoos and hair, just brutalizing the things. Slorach does the moves, wide-legged rock poses or jumping a full two feet off the ground. Edkins starts sweating in anticipation of the mania that’s about about to break forth from his body Alien-style. Dude is all over the fucking shop and he’s screaming into the mics and pulling his sig move: standing on a monitor and holding his guitar strings to the ceiling to let the pipes up there play it. But like I said – this isn’t just snot-nosed noise, there’s melody in that thar destruction. “Headache” is blissfully so, “Negative Space” is just MEAN and “Wet Blanket” is the full-on winner.
Metz are on tour now and will hit Europe in Feb/March. Get them at BUZZ before they blow. \m/
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