July 27, 2013
That Was The Show That Was: Metz, The Men, Desert Sharks | The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA | 25 July
Last time a Metz show in Boston actually went off, the room erupted into one big, drunken mosh pit, one that threatened the structural integrity of the fabled Middle East Rock Club. But for Thursday's free, shoe company-sponsored gig at a relatively new Harvard Square venue, one might have wondered just how nuts was the crowd really gonna get? The answer, it turns out, is very, very nuts.
After a solid warm-up set from New York punks Desert Sharks, the crowd anxiously anticipated what was to come from The Men. The question was, which version of the Brooklyn-based five-piece would show up? Would the set favor the Tom Petty-worship of 2013's exceptional New Moon LP, or the scuzzed punk with which The Men first made a name for themselves? In the end, fans got a little bit of both. The act opened just after 10 with what felt like a good five minutes of pulsating feedback, before bassist Ben Greenberg commenced a vicious two-note riff. The band then tore into what sounded an awful lot like "Oscillation" from 2012's Open Your Heart. It's hard to be certain, as the room sound for the set at times seemed unable to contain the band's sonic assault. The vocals and drums, in particular, struggled for recognition from underneath the throbbing might of the guitars. Even so, what could be heard sounded fantastic. In a move seemingly influenced by the characteristic intensity of the headliners, The Men emphasized the thrashier end of its considerably malleable sound, gradually layering in more and more noise before sloppily coming to a close. The highlight of its set, however, was a grooved-out take on a standout track from New Moon, "I Saw Her Face."
While The Men were received warmly, it was clear the youth were getting restless as Metz's sound check wore on. The kids wanted to mosh, hard -- and eventually they did. The last time the Torontonian trio came to Boston, the show was canceled due to, in their words, "some asshole who tried to blow up the marathon." It seemed Metz played Thursday night as if they had something to prove to make up for the missed show; the crowd was ready to meet the band's determination. The first drumroll of "Dirty Shirt" incited a massive circle pit, one that didn't dissipate until Metz burned through an extended, droning rendition of album closer "Negative Space" (bonus points go to the dude moshing with the Metz 12" tucked under his arm). What Metz lack in variation song-to-song, they more than make up for in visceral energy and shuddering intensity. Fronter Alex Edkins stared into the crowd and literally screamed the sweat off his face more times than this writer could keep track of. The night's greatest moment occurred when the band asked for the crowd to "take care of each other" before "Get Off," a tune that rocketed the crowd into an especially ecstatic frenzy. By the time Metz slumped back on stage for a quick encore, everyone in the room was too fried to even react; the Canadians had effectively squeezed all the energy out of the room. Stream the single version of "Negative Space" via the Bandcamp embed below. Metz embark on an eight-date European tour next week, return to the States for four festival dates in late summer, and then head back to Europe for a significantly longer campaign that begins on Halloween in Reykjavik, although there is no Halloween in Iceland. And that's one to grow on... -- Dillon Riley
Metz: Bandcamp | Internerds | Tumblr | Twitter
The Men: Internerds