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METZ with Bully and So Pitted @ The Church.

January 19, 2016
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JUMP_METZ_011216-006Text by Bryce Woodcock. Images by Rick Kauffman.

Toronto’s METZ unleashed sonic apocalypse from the pits of the First Unitarian Church basement at a routinely teeming, sweaty and deafening show last week.

The appearance was part of their tour with Nashville’s post-grunge power-pop outfit Bully and incipient labelmates and Seattle natives, So Pitted.

So Pitted opened the show exhibiting their distinctive approach to a sound that every Seattle native absorbs through osmosis. It’s something dark and noisy and brooding — call it “Pacific Northwest Noir” — that would be misleading to designate “grunge,” as the term is used today. The first song of their set, “The Sickness,” started at an impossibly slow pace with Jeannine Koewler’s chest-compressing guitar played through a bass amp outlining a progression and lead singer Nathan Rodriguez slurring words over the top. It then abruptly surged into an anti-melodic, nearly atonal but structured noise assault that’s energy carried through almost the entire performance.

Mid-set, drummer Liam Downey swapped his sticks for lead guitar and vocals, churning out a couple of his detached and monotone portraits of the void as told by rhythmic drum blasts, pulsing low-end fuzz and squealing feedback.

Bully, fronted by Alicia Bognanno, whose sound was reminiscence of the 90s alt-rock that put glam rock in the grave for good, played second. A grunge-tinged four-piece with power anthems accented by Bognanno, whose crooning clashed with heart-felt squeals, Bully was full of punch-you-in-the-face emotion. Hailing from Nashville, TN, which remains a musical hotbed of cross-genre creative influence, Bully was a perfect match with road-mates in So Pitted and METZ.

METZ creates a sound far greater than the sum of their parts — guitarist Alex Edkins, drummer Hayden Menzies and bassist Chris Slorach. The trio unleashed a hard-hitting set spanning their full discography. Their chug-loving brand of noise rock was an unrelenting barrage that would have made Sub Pop forerunners Nirvana proud. They were raw and at times viscous and unforgiving. Edkins thrashed his Fender Jazzmaster in a fashion its creator may have not intended but was certainly designed to withstand.

METZ ended their tour with Bully and So Pitted on Saturday in Chicago, but they’ll pick back up in Singapore when the Toronto trio takes on New Zealand and Australia in February.

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