Casual fans of the Sub Pop label may not have been expecting the onslaught unleashed on The Echo the night Toronto-based band Metz headlined. You could see exactly who those people were: the few sitting in the back by the bar waiting for one of the label’s hottest bands while the punk/metal-filled show tore though their expectations.
I’ve always described Metz as the heaviest moments of Nirvana songs fighting with themselves. Metz’s drummer even sets his hi-hats up like Dave Grohl (nerdy drummer moment). They have a raw sound and energy that The Echo doesn’t often host, making the small LA venue feel more like a July afternoon in Florida.
The night opened with Obliterations, a band that seemed timid as they approached the stage. Yes, they had long hair, but the singer gave a mild mannered “check” on the mic only to follow up with a nod to the sound guy and blistering speed and jagged guitar tones underneath his brutal screams. It was like night and day.
Retox followed with a brand of hardcore that is exactly what I look for in a heavy band. It is fast, heavy, and seems really hard to play. Theirs is an angry and technical brand of metal that takes the aggression of Glassjaw and sprinkles in the technicality of Dillinger Escape Plan. Featuring members of cult band The Locust, I have no doubts where their intensity comes from. Retox is the kind of band I would recommend to metal heads that love raw punk that brings experimentation to the next level. It is abrasive, and it should be.
Metz foregoes obvious technicality. They aren’t trying to impress with overcomplicated writing, instead exhibiting a simplicity that lends itself to straight-forward songwriting with a focus on energy and subtle rhythmic variance. That rhythm drives each song and shows the kind of musicians they are: passionate, aggressive, and extremely tight.
The last several years of touring have paid off for Metz both as a group and professionals. Their near perfection as a three-piece has sent them to many major festivals, including FYF 2015 few days later, which is why seeing them at The Echo was so special.
As Metz pulled from their two albums, they hit such songs as “Off,” “Wet Blanket,” and “Acetate.” It seemed that as the energy grew from song to song, it also grew from both the band and the audience. This was the kind of show where you would find yourself wedged between a big dude with no shirt smelling like a horse and a local punk rocker wearing a homemade Fartbarf hat.
Since first hearing them, I knew Metz would be great live. The entire bill was heavier than I expected considering the band’s label is Sub Pop, but who would want to see someone like label-mates Beach House with Metz anyway? (Just to be clear, I love Beach House.) Metz put on a great show with the kind of support they needed from their opening acts and fans that were ready to rock.
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