METZ are a cult band like know other: within fans of noisier music, people either love them, or don’t know them. Formed in 2008 in Ottowa (the band are now based in Toronto), the hype surrounding them has grown steadily, but fairly slowly, allowing them to retain their place as an ‘underground’ band. This show is just one stop on a long run of European dates promoting their third album ‘Strange Peace’, which was released on the 22nd September. Produced by Steve Albini and released on Sub Pop, the album is as unrelenting as one has come to expect from METZ, and having seen them 5 times previously, I was excited to see if the new material would hold up live to their previous output live.
Starting the evening off were Bristol newcomers Heavy Lungs, who, despite this only being their 6th gig, have already supported the likes of local heroes Idles and played a raucous show in Sportsmans at Simple Things Festival. Taking cues from the aforementioned Idles, along with bands like Pissed Jeans and Iceage, their brand of frenetic punk got the crowd swaying almost as much as frontman Danny Dedelko was on stage. Next up were Leeds based Drahla, who, having recently signed to Wichita have a fair amount of hype of their own surrounding them. They’ve been with Metz for the whole of their European run prior to the UK dates, and the experience gained from those shows is clearly visible. Unfortunately, there seemed to be problems with the sound both for the band on stage and for the audience, meaning their set possibly didn’t get translated quite as they would have otherwise liked, but it’s clear that Drahla are definitely a band to keep your eyes on.
Whilst the majority of the crowd were already in the room watching the supports (always good to see!), the push towards the front as METZ took to the stage showed the passion that their fans feel towards the band. Opener ‘Swimmer’ lead to mosh pits breaking out within seconds of the first note, and these did not relent throughout the show. Interestingly songs from the first two records (‘Metz’ and ‘II’) did seem to get a better reception than those off the new record, with ‘Get Off’ and ‘Spit You Out’ leading to multiple members of the audience being surfed on to stage, but this might just be down to the relatively short period of time ‘Strange Peace’ has been out for. The band finished their set with the lead single off ‘II’, ‘Acetate’, with the sweaty, thrashing mess that was the crowd somehow maintaining energy right to the end. Returning to the stage to cries of ‘Wasted’, the encore finished with this classic of their first album. Even after the encore had finished the crowd refused to leave, once again highlighting the fervour towards the band that their loyal fans feel. No matter how loud they are, how much sweat is in the room, and how many boots to the head you might receive, no one can get enough of METZ.
Photography: Opus Musiques