METZ

Forget the “eh” suffixes, forget the poutine, forget the moose and beaver jokes, forget aboot it all.  The oft-overlooked Canadian stereotype is that they’re a painfully polite bunch.

This was never more evident that the show I went to a couple of nights ago:  METZ at the Bowery Ballroom.

It was hard for me to imagine what this show was going to be like, given that this is a band with only one album.  One album that comprised ten songs, with a total running time of about 28 minutes.  The last time I saw a band with similar credentials, it was Vampire Weekend at Terminal 5, and I swear that show was done by 10:30 – 10:30!! – and no one had any idea what the fuck to do with the rest of the night.  We were all let out of show, and I swear I saw kids in pajamas getting ice cream with their parents.  That was just fucking weird.

But METZ are nothing like Vampire Weekend.  I guess folks categorize these guys as noise punk, whatever the fuck that means (I fucking hate these categorizations because they’re all trying too fucking hard, and each label is more meaningless than the next).  A power trio from Toronto that’s not fucking Rush.  They don’t suffer Graceland-era Paul Simon-type melodies.  These guys are built one thing and one thing only – noise.  So maybe I shouldn’t get too concerned.

After a couple of entirely forgettable opening bands, roadies cleared the stage and started to set up for METZ.  After a very quick setup – gone are the days of thirty pedals on the floor with a rack of half a dozen guitars; now it’s one instrument going into one, maybe two pedals and that’s it – the lights dimmed, the crowd cheered… and the roadies came back on stage.  Wait, what?  Holy shit, those weren’t roadies – those guys setting up were METZ themselves.  I’d never seen that shit before – a headlining band setting up their own gear.  “Oh, that’s alright, don’t go through any bother, we’re quite happy to take care of ourselves.”

How painfully Canadian.

The lead singer/guitar player looked like a millennial Bill Gates.  The bass player looked like comedian Rob Delaney.  The drummer, fuck knows what he looked like but he was back there machine-gunning away at the heads.

A couple of polite hellos and boom, off they went.  Bill Gates launched into a rapid, piercing riff and shrieked into the mic like a dragon whose balls had been set on fire.  Eager headslamming on stage; in front of me, a mosh pit quickly formed.

A mosh pit?  That’s adorable.

About that mosh pit – it was the nicest, most gracious mosh pit I’d ever seen.  I mean, how often have we gone to show where fuckheads who don’t know how to mosh end up slamming around and punching someone in the face, then a fight breaks out, and everyone gets tossed from the floor by security.

In this case, everyone knew how to mosh.  It was weird, but everyone followed the unwritten rules of moshing.  If someone fell, a bunch of guys would reach right in to help pull him up.  Girls jumped into the middle of it, and the guys would take it easy.  Despite all the slamming and stomping around, there just wasn’t much angst and rage.  The mood was more, “hey, we’re just here to have a good time”, not “hey, we’re here to kick the shit out everyone.”

It was the most polite mosh pit I’d ever seen.  Meaning, it was the most Canadian mosh pit I’d ever seen.  Which begs the question – did the band bring their own moshers?

Back to the band, METZ’s on-stage presence bordered on being marginally comical.  When the amps were screaming, they shrieked and raged like banshees.  Between songs, Bill Gates would gently thank the crowd, “Thank you so much, you guys.  We’re so happy to be here.”  Insane noise machine one minute, boy scouts the next.  It was this seamless transition between madness and gentleness that made it all so fucking bizarre.  Yet, remarkably refreshing.  Here, check it out yourself:

Even when the bass player had blood pouring from the bridge of his nose when he slammed his head into the mic, he sheepishly told the crowd, “Excuse me, I’m gonna have this looked at to make sure I don’t need the hospital.”  He came back with duct tape between his eyes (a proper rock move), thanked the crowd, and then resumed slamming his head to his bass lines.

So, so Canadian.  Canada rules.