Metz

-SOUP KITCHEN, MANCHESTER-

Metz are an unstoppable machine. Since their formation in 2008, the Toronto trio have been hell bent on delivering the best noise punk going: whether it’s through their constantly reliable back catalog or their ear blitzing live shows, they have not slowed down. Due to the visceral nature of the band’s sound, I’ve always thought Metz would be best seen in a sweaty basement with a kick ass PA, and praise be, Manchester promoters Now Wave have had same the thought and stuck them in the Soup Kitchen basement tonight for a sold out show!

Opening up tonight is LA three piece Moaning. Having just released their debut record through the prestigious Sub Pop Records, there’s been a considerable amount of hype surrounding them this year. The sound of Moaning is pretty varied: on record they’ve got this shoegaze-meets-80’s-synth-pop vibe going on but live it takes a noisier, grunge-infused form. Although a few tunes hold a glossy pop sheen, it’s tracks like ‘Somewhere In There’ and ‘Does This Work For You’ that hold my attention, carrying an enticing, scuzzed-up guitar-driven racket.

When they do the rock thing, it’s good fun and it sounds nice and fuzzy at the Soup Kitchen but it’s the poppier moments in the set that don’t translate as well as they do on record. Having heard the record and seen the live show, it seems to me that Moaning are still figuring out what kind of band they are. But ultimately they have the right attitude and plenty of cool ideas which definitely makes me wanna keep my eye on them to see where they take it next.

I pop upstairs in between bands to grab a bev and as I re-enter the basement I am greeted by Metz guitarist/vocalist Alex sound checking guitars and in just a few seconds of noise, I know that tonight’s set is gonna shake the whole of the city. Bassist Chris and drummer Hayden join him shortly after and we are away, my ear plugs are firmly in at this point (although, I can tell you they don’t have much affect as I am left half of one ear by the end of the set).

The trio rarely stop to take a breath and absolutely pummel through three albums’ worth of material. From the desperate frantic opener ‘The Swimmer’, the whole room has lost control of their heads, the first half of the room is a blur of sweaty long hair and battered cans being tossed in the air. Both band and crowd are at one with the same energy, feeding off each other, it feels like a proper punk show, kids stage diving at every opportunity with sweat dripping from the walls.

Metz are known for bringing the angular punk bangers to the party and it’s great to hear old smashers like ‘Get Off’ and ‘Headache’ completely tear us a new one. The new tunes sound just at vital too: as a record Strange Peace┬áis a bit more of a sonic changeling than their previous efforts but live they just kick it out and tunes like ‘Drained Lake’ and ‘Mr. Plague’ turn from angular rock tracks into furious punk tunes.

It’s also cool to hear the band extend some tunes and jam it out a bit for extra mind-bending results. ‘Kicking A Can Of Worms’ and the improv breakdown in ‘Eraser’, keeps the pit on its toes but when they come out of these pysch-inspired passages it all tumbles down into a tornado of fury. It’s around that time that a guy comes out of the pit and bumps into a friend who is standing near the back by me and shouts “this is fucking mental innit? Although I’m annoyed I left my plugs in me other jacket”; Metz are a punishing live band that take no prisoners and tonight’s set is all about channeling the senses.

I reviewed the band’s last Manchester show in these very pages back in 2015, and although they still sound really fucking abrasive and are ridiculously good fun to watch live, they’ve really upped their stage show this time around. The confidence of frontman Alex has really come along as he orders the room to put their hands in the air, screams excitably in the faces of crowdsurfers and often jumps in the front row to screech out a guitar solo. They seem to have matched the bravado of their tunes with a more fearless performance, and mixed with the fact that they’re all powerhouse players, Metz are the real fucking deal tonight and have reaffirmed my love for a good ole punk show!

Metz: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.