From behind metal barriers and the hulking/towering mass of a security guard I'm watching the sound engineer from the 'safety' of backstage at 9294. He's grinding his face into the palms of his hands as his mind recoils in horror at the sights before him and thoughts he must have. I guess mainly whether the sound system will be giving out before or after being pushed to or beyond its very limits, and what if anything he'll be able to do to solve this worst case scenario before the crowd turns ugly. Below him a sweaty mass of undulating rockers flail and tear themselves apart like a demented human accordion as 'Mess Of Wires' blasts through the stacked speakers on either side of the stage, may the rest in peace(s). Hayden (Percussion) smashes on a garbage can lid that's been repurposed as a cymbal while Alex (Guitar/Vocals) and Chris (Bass) hammer out notes a-la-Scott Pilgrim.
Just minutes ago Alex was pacing back and forth psyching himself up backstage for his set, now he's belting out the gospel, "alright were not stopping let's fucking go!" he wails into the mic as song three of the power set, 'Get Off', picks up the tempo. The notes thrash out at us in a throttling and unrelenting cacophonous battering, "I see it coming true, I see it coming unglued" rings in my ears. Not only is it hot AF (everyone has been reduced to a mess of bodily fluids) in this windowless warehouse conversion but Metz have just come to the end of a string of shows throughout the UK. The crowd has come to yet another end of a work week. It's Friday we're all shattered but Metz and the audience alike have dug deep in some sort of weird suicide pact for one final showdown, we're all going out guns blazing. What we're experiencing can only be properly describe in biblical terms but as I've never read the bible I'm going to be doing some serious paraphrasing. Picture Metz as the final line drawn in the sand between us (humanity) and the barbarian hordes (everyone not in here but also in here at the same time), the battle waging is in front of us, in us, all around us and for our very SOOOOOOOULS. Wave after wave of sounds come crashing raining down deafening blows exorcising our demons (hearing) with each blast, salvation is ours at last. The fire and fighting spirit inside of Metz is giving the audience one helluva run for their money, it's a fight they don't plan on coming back from, it's all or none.
There's a lot of competition in the music business here in the UK and admittedly around the world. Bands tour, a lot, and sometimes when they get to you they're likely out of steam and running on fumes. Their cut-loose antics like crowd surfing come off more as a gimmick they've locked themselves into from past days of glory. I remember the first time I saw Crows at Birthdays years ago I was in fear for my very life. Most recently when I saw them play again at the O2 after a lengthy UK tour the show felt like an old man easing into a warm bath, harmless. A queue had formed by the stage where old and young alike took turns clambering up and 'stage diving' if you could even call it that. It looked more like kids waiting to use the slide on a playground. Metz have been around since 2008 and live were like Balboa in Rocky, unpredictable south paws with their gloves full of rocks each blow just as dangerous as the last.
People might say they've seen a show like Metz, "they're just Canada's answer to the Oh Sees" but they're wrong I've seen both live. Don't get me wrong, I'm an O.S.'s fan and they bring it for sure but their shows are always huge and sold out. Arriving early I've never been able to get much closer than halfway to the stage; they've also got 2 drummers. You can go see Metz and feel like you're in a giant human accordion when they play as the crowd lurches forwards and backwards with a way bigger sound. At any moment you can feel the tension in the air that someone will flip a switch and the mass will turn into a cannibalistic orgy and gosh darnit you just can't put a price on that! The feeling at their show is electric, both you and the band are in a euphoric state of indestructability. The gang comes back to the stage for an encore and belch out 'Acetate':
"She's barely breathing/I'm wading through puddles on the floor/We're all moving backwards/Even dead men float"
Yup, that just about sums it up. I give Alex a hug after the show and instantly regret it as I peel myself off a layer of mucus clinging to his entire body. "Gross, but that's what I'm talking about" I say, he clocks my accent, "thanks man" he smiles, "much appreciated". Feeling's mutual my dudes.