Review: Metz rocks Bottletree Cafe

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If you don’t know every word to every song, and you want to hear the lyrics, don’t go to a Metz show.

If you don’t want to feel like you’re being bombarded by a wall of aggressive, agitated sound, don’t go to a Metz show.

If you want to leave a venue and not wonder whether or not you’ve suffered serious hearing damage, don’t go to a Metz show.

If you want to want to be sucked into a set that features decibels in the same range as a jet engine and walk away knowing for certain rock sure as hell isn’t dead, get to a Metz show as soon as possible.

In the band’s Twitter bio, Metz is described as a “punk/noise” band, and really, that doesn’t do this trio justice. If you want to place Metz into a certain genre, the only accurate name for that classification would be “LOUD.” When someone on the local news describes a tornado that moved through their neighborhood, they usually say the storm sounded like a freight train. That’s what Metz sounded like Tuesday night at Bottletree Cafe — a freight train of guitar, bass, drums and vocals. Some fans were smart enough to bring ear plugs, but after the show, they said it didn’t make much of a difference.

After fellow Toronto-based grunge/punk/noise/whatever trio Odonis Odonis opened, Metz played a pretty short set, mostly ripping through songs on their self-titled debut album, a collection of fast-paced, lo-fi tunes with just enough reverb. It was up-tempo, and there was a lot of screaming and flailing around on stage. More than once, singer/guitarist Alex Edkins finished a song howling into the microphone and twitching violently, as if he were experiencing some sort of seizure, and then wearing a surprised look on his face that said, “Holy shit, I can’t believe I survived that.” That’s how much energy the band put into every song; they didn’t seem to know if they would make it through the next one.

At one point midway through the show, Edkins decided he wanted to try out a new track. His colleagues, drummer Hayden Menzies and bassist Chris Sloach, didn’t appear to be too prepared, but they played it anyway. Like the rest of Metz’s music, it was loud and fast, and they pulled it off without a hitch. The execution of the song sort of summed up Metz. They’re rock-and-roll enough to say, “fuck it,” and try something different without worrying if it will work, but they’re polished enough to be able to get through it without any embarrassing mishaps.

The crowd at Bottletree wasn’t huge — maybe 100 or so — and for the most part, there wasn’t a ton of jumping around. There definitely wasn’t any moshing. But there were a few raucous fans up front, and just about everyone in attendance was bobbing their head and stomping their feet to some degree. That was good enough for Metz, who complimented the city, the venue and the fans a few times throughout the night. Edkins even relayed a tale of teaming up with Odonis Odonis before the show to write a song called “Birmingham Sky.” He mentioned the possibility of playing it, but alas, that never happened.

As the headliner took the stage, there was a faint smell of an electrical fire in the air, and later, Edkins explained that the members of Odonis Odonis had somehow started a small equipment blaze backstage. He asked, “What’s a show without some danger?,” and then launched into a song called “Wasted.”

That sequence was Metz’s performance in a microcosm: punk attitude and a healthy dose of danger. Anyone that wasn’t prepared for that should have stayed home.

About Chris Fuhrmeister

Chris Fuhrmeister is a contributing writer for You Hear This, as well as the managing editor at College and Magnolia, SB Nation's Auburn blog.