When Captain Haddock coined the phrase “Thundering Typhoons!” I’m sure he didn’t mean it to work in relation to a Metz gig. His famous phrase is the best way of describing them live though. Bands like Metz make sense when you see them live. It comes down to the impact the show makes and it’s one to remove any cobwebs in your system. I’ve been a fan of Metz for a long time now and have always said the same, you need to see them to get it. It’s not that their records don’t have anything special to them, they really do. Their latest album Strange Peace may be one of their best yet but, for me, I never quite clicked with Metz until I first saw them. They’re a band that put everything into their live show, they’re all in good shape and you can see why. Their light shirts soon turn dark and halfway through their set they look like they’ve just come out of the shower.
They know their strengths and play to them well. When they walk onstage at The Haunt frontman Alex Edkins says nothing, picks up the guitar and digs and scrapes the strings with incredible force. They build up as they know what’s about to happen and the audience are waiting, knees poised at the ready and then ‘The Swimmer’ kicks it all off. Their shows are controlled chaos and it does rub off on you.
Putting on my reviewer’s hat for a moment, I was concerned that once started, how do you keep this momentum going and push it even further? I think partly what keeps the energy going at their gig is how dedicated the crowd are to colliding with each other. It’s an energy that the room and the band themselves feed off. Metz are also masters of creating tension on stage. They’re very aware of their sound and know how to work an audience. It’s just as exciting mid-way through as it is at the start.
Watching Metz is like sitting down to a nice meal whilst your kitchen’s on fire. The crowd almost become the visual for the show. At the time I thought it was distracting, on reflection it’s part of the show and the experience. All their shows are guaranteed to be like this, you have no choice but to get on board. Their crowds are like an old cartoon bust up where it’s a cloud of smoke with stars and limbs flying out of it. My concern may also be down to the fact that I was poised right behind The Haunt’s infamous steel beam which blocked my view of Alex from the audience.
Metz almost use their songs as vehicles for their sound and the people pay money to see that sound in action. They belong alongside bands like Lightning Bolt which was, incidentally, the headliner the first time I saw Metz. They’re a noise rock band that frame their sound like punk songs. It’s a combination that has a lot of bite to it. Songs like ‘Spit You Out’ have incredible force live. The sound that they get out of a three-piece is massive. If you took someone to their show with a blindfold they’d think there was an army of them.
For a live experience Metz really are a band to throw their show at you. It was as exciting as it was intense and thrilling. I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting on a Metz album for just anyone. However I would drag just about anyone down to go see them live. It’s really like nothing else.