METZ at 7th St. Entry, 10/29/12

METZ at 7th St. Entry, 10/29/12
Photo by Reed Fischer

with Buildings and Animal Lover
7th Street Entry, Minneapolis
Monday, October 29, 2012

The art of noise was front and center last night in an ear-splitting bill topped by excellent Toronto trio METZ. Comprised of Alex Edkins (vocals/guitar), Hayden Menzies (drums) and Chris Slorach (bass), METZ has garnered considerable and much deserved praise thanks to a packed fall tour and the release of their eponymous full-length on Sub Pop earlier this month.

Often filed under noise rock, METZ is regularly compared to Big Black, Fugazi, Shellac, Nation of Ulysses and others who find art in cacophony, shaping dissonance into melody in an alchemic fashion. METZ isn't blazing a trail with their stripped down, bracing formula, but they've honed a sound that pushes their project beyond simply carrying on the tradition of say Steve Albini or Ian Svenonius.

See Also:
METZ on sharing F*cked Up's practice space and life in Toronto

Slideshow: Archers of Loaf and METZ at 400 Bar

More than anything, what ties METZ to their forerunners is their on-stage intensity. Seeing METZ live for the first time is an experience that falls between revelation and kick in the head. Through a seemingly contradictory use of economy, they produce a ferocious sound and energy. Seeing METZ live for a second time is a confirmation, reassuring you that yes, you did just see that.

After a gig opening for Archers of Loaf in August, METZ took the stage for the second time in Minneapolis in two months last night. Cloaked in darkness, guitar, bass and drums quickly swelled, easily giving the impression of a revving engine. As this slop of disparate noises coalesced, the pounding drums that signal "Knife in the Water" heralded a furious performance. Clocking in at a brisk 28 minutes (their album is one minute longer!), the eight-song set was scorching, putting the crowd into a frenzy.

Seven of the songs METZ tore through were pulled from their new album. The one exception was "Dirty Shirt," a particularly ripping track that appears on their latest EP. As Edkins, Menzies and Slorach scream, slash and pound away, you appreciate how intimately familiar they are with the material. The trio functions as one and every element fulfills its role. Nothing is indulgent, nothing is excessive. If memory serves, there was a single passage during "Wasted" that could be categorized as a guitar solo. Considering that song is about getting drunk, we can let this slide.

METZ closed the set with an extended version of "Wet Blanket" that ultimately took up about a quarter of the entire performance. The evening's lone breakdown pushed the song beyond the three-minute mark, allowing the audience to share in a welcomed momentary lapse in structure. The crowd wanted more but it wasn't to be. Edkins' parting words to the audience were "Shit's broken. That's it. I'm sorry." Nothing to apologize for.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: METZ left me stunned when they opened for Archers of Loaf in August. As an adoring AOL fan, METZ pulled off the seemingly impossible that night, stealing the show in their supporting role.

Eardrum Check: Still ringing eight hours later.

The Crowd: Kind of a dude fest.

Shameless Plug: The addition of St. Paul's Animal Lover and Minneapolis' Buildings to the lineup was well played. Check these bands out as they make the rounds around town.

Set list:

1. Knife in the Water

2. Negative Space

3. Get Off

4. Dirty Shirt

5. Wasted

6. Headache

7. The Mule

8. Wet Blanket

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