Like many people, I had plenty of time on my hands during the early days of the pandemic. But instead of learning to make soda bread, I filled that time with a lot of music; Metz was one of the bands I listened to the most. I’d dig in for hours extensively on their back catalog, and then dove right into Atlas Vending when it was released in October 2020 (they were in my top five Spotify artists for both 2020 and 2021). And while I did very much enjoy seeing their KEXP at Home performance featuring songs from the album that aired in late 2020, I knew I definitely wasn’t going to be satisfied until I saw those songs performed live in front of me. But at that point, who knew if or when that was going to happen?
Flash forward to now, the very tail end of 2021, and I finally got that chance. I’d seen them twice before (see my pics from their 2018 boat show and OctFest 2019) and both times I left totally sated but at the same time still wanting even more. This is not a bad thing by any means, rather that they blasted me with such a wave of blistering and potent noise that I just wanted to keep that feeling going as long as possible; I found the same thing happened after this show as well. (And I do regret not going to the second night of this NYC run at Bowery Ballroom, but such is life when you happen to work in a music venue and don’t get many nights off to go to shows for fun instead of work.)
The trio was in top form as they took the stage, ripping relentlessly through a set spanning their four full lengths, of course most heavily hitting songs from Atlas Vending. They opened the set with the first five songs on the album before shifting to older material and a few other AV tracks, closing out with “A Boat to Drown In,” playing an extended jam (as on the album) before leaving the stage and not returning for an encore. In a set entirely filled with heavy hitters and highlights for me, I have to say I definitely enjoyed hearing the new material most but was also pleasantly surprised that they dipped all the way back to their 2012 self-titled debut with “Wet Blanket,” “Headache,” and “Get Off,” all favorite tracks. While I do wish they’d have gone into more of Strange Peace (honestly, they could have played the entire album and I’d have been pleased as punch), they did play “Mess of Wires,” which is also a big favorite that I was very stoked to hear.
Hayden Menzies is a total powerhouse on the kit and one of my favorite drummers (and visual artists); I loved watching him play
The openers for the night were FACS, who I had been completely unfamiliar with prior to this show, and who totally blew me away; I absolutely loved their set. Noisey/fuzzy/dark would all be perfect words to describe them and they also have the cheeky quips “almost Fugazi for goths,” and “Dub Like Jehu” in their Instagram bio, which regular readers will know had me saying “sign me right up for that!” I am planning to do a binge listen to their catalog to get myself up to speed before the next time they come back to NYC. As of right now, the band doesn’t know when that will be, their singer/guitarist told me after the show that they are recording in April and other than that have not made further 2022 plans. One thing I do know for sure is that when they do make it back to NYC, I will be there.
Preoccupations filled the middle spot of the night for a little bit of a sonic shift to more darkwave post punk territory between the two straight up noisier bookends of FACS and Metz. I had seen them in 2019 when they opened for IDLES (see pics I shot at that show for BrooklynVegan) and while I do admit I’m a more casual listener to their music, they put on a great set both times I’ve seen them.
This show came right in the middle of an incredibly busy time for me and it was my only night off in a two week timeframe, but I knew I had to carve out time to make sure I was there no matter what, and I am so glad I did. Metz is a band that continuously and welcomely challenges me as a fan and is at a creative level unmatched by so many others who try and fall short. I never get tired of listening to them even after hundreds of times now having heard those songs. This night was exactly the noise punk oasis that I needed to recharge my spirits, lifting me up to get me to the finish line of 2021. I know I wasn’t the only person who left the venue that night already excitedly looking forward to when they come back to town (hopefully) in 2022.
Watch Metz: Live on KEXP At Home performance (I also caught up with the rest of their KEXP performances on YouTube during the pandemic which I definitely recommend you do too.)
Metz setlist: Pulse, Blind Youth Industrial Park, Mirror, No Ceiling, Hail Taxi, The Swimmer, Wet Blanket, Framed by the Comet’s Tail, Mess of Wires, Sugar Pill, Headache, Get Off, A Boat to Drown In
Scroll down for pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)