Last May during LEVITATION aka Austin Psych Fest we got the chance to chat briefly with Hayden Menzies of Metz. The drummer was excited about being in Austin again to perform. The noise-punks from Toronto have been to Austin three times this year including their intense, captivating set at Red 7 last Saturday. It was one of the final shows for the venue that will close its doors on August 28.
Shortly after arriving at the venue we bumped into Menzies. He mentioned his pleasure at returning to Austin and told us the band loved playing Red 7. We lamented the club’s closing and parted ways. While bespeckled guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins grabs most of the attention with his screaming lyrics and bombastic guitar work, Menzies is at the heart of the band. A drummer using a basic kit, the percussive element of Metz’ sound is anchored by his impressive chops. He sounds like he is playing a much larger kit.
Edkins is compelling to watch though. The band leader is in constant motion throughout the performance, brandishing his axe in tribute to influences like Nirvana who was incidentally on the same Sub-Pop label as Metz. The similarities of the two bands is evident in examining 1989’s Bleach with the album’s garage-punk intensity rather than the more polished sound of their last, In Utero. Edkins’ angst was clearly on display as he lead the group through an hour-long set that was so good, it felt like 10 minutes had elapsed when Metz signed off for the night. it felt like a rug had been pulled out from under us.
Edkins waxed philosophical on making music to in a chat with Sub-Pop, ““I look at it like this,” METZ frontman Alex Edkins says. “You start a band, just as something to do, because music’s what makes you tick, the thing you dream about and think about and that’s it. You never think that you’ll be able to do it all the time. But then, for some inexplicable reason, people actually listen and latch on and the band begins to take on new meaning. All of a sudden there are expectations and pressure, real or imagined, to change who you are. It was important to us, when making this record, not to give in to that pressure.”
Minimalist lighting and heavy doses of stage smoke provided the backdrop for Metz who thundered through the performance. The anger in Edkins was evident during Acetate and I.O.U. both of which can be found on their latest, II that just dropped in May. Another satisfying song was Kicking a Can of Worms. The slow build of the introduction followed by a driving, repetitive rhythm that degenerates into incomprehensible fuzz was irresistible.
Metz continues to tour with dates in Southern California wrapping their American leg at FYF before heading to Europe for an extended run through the end of November.
Knife in the Water
Spit You Out
Wait in Line
Kicking a Can of Worms
Special thanks to Bianca Flores and Transmission Events.