Live Review: METZ with Nail Polish at Barboza 6/17/16

Live Reviews
Gerrit Feenstra
all photos by Brittany Feenstra

Theoretically, if you asked me what show would constitute my ultimate pipedream throwdown in a basement by an active, living band, I think I'd pick METZ. The Ontario group signed to Sub Pop in 2012 and immediately took throneroom space aside some of North America's finest punk names. Two albums deep and primed for a third, METZ is known for two things: throwing down and touring relentlessly. The band has continued both fine traditions begun on their debut with last year's sophomore slug to the chest II. Their first Seattle stop in support of II was upstairs at Neumos last August, with support from the excellent Brooklyn post-hardcore outfit Big Ups. But in planning the next wave of touring (behind an album that truly does deserves multiple supporting tours), I think the thought process for METZ went a little something like: how can we make this even more badass? Well, regardless of how the idea happened, here we are, with two sold out nights of METZ at Barboza, melting everything they touch. There was plenty blood and sweat, and many tears from those that chose to stay home. With support from excellent local punks Nail Polish (signed to Help Yourself so you know what's up), METZ took Barboza to its max, continuing an untouchable saga of live madness.If you are itching to get in on some of the absolute best of the local punk and garage scene, Capitol Hill label Help Yourself is pretty much a one-stop shop. The label has released records from Chastity Belt, Dude York, Childbirth, and Wimps just to name a few, but deserving of just as much credit are the fresh names to the roster. Nail Polish gave us their first Help Yourself recording last October with Abrupt, and it kicks ass and bends your brain in equal servings. Nail Polish take their sound from a really cool set of influences. Songs like "Neighborhood Watch" highlight how they manage to balance bristling garage rock tendencies with the syncopated, punchy punk of mid-70s basement-ridden Devo. Nail Polish blasted through eleven songs in about twenty minutes, making good time on their artistry with the growing crowd. Later in the evening, METZ bassist Chris Slorach would remark, "Did you guys catch Nail Polish? If you didn't, you seriously fucked up". I think this sums up the band's spectacle perfectly.

Nail Polish:

One of the first things you really latch onto with METZ is that they operate in a guttural space of the human psyche. Their songs laugh in the face of traditional chord structures and progressions. There is little in terms of harmony - just well organized and well executed cacophony turned up to merciless levels. But despite the discord, METZ have no problem getting you to bob along with increasing veracity. Their songs tap into the classic punk motifs without ever sacrificing the element of surprise. Maybe the most surprising thing METZ has showed us thus far is their unseemly capacity for longevity. Punk acts that go as hard as METZ do have a tendency to burn bright, hot, and fast. And yet, with a couple years of touring behind them, II improves on the band's debut in every imaginable way. It shows a band with room to grow, headspace to fill, and plenty of trails to blaze. When METZ played Neumos last year, they were still warming up to the new material. But the album's radical sense of horizon expansion continues to feed the band's undying fire into a new chapter, one such chapter that features two sold out nights in a basement at the outset of the Seattle summer. If that doesn't sound like necessary attendance, I don't know what does.

Two albums deep, METZ now have over an hour of studio album material to throw your way, and given the intensity of it, it's a brave thing to ask as much in response from your crowd (let alone as early as 9:30pm or so). But here in Barboza, the place, the time, the event - it was all mad science. METZ entered the stage with no expectation - no ego to stroke in the form of apologetic, palpable applause. Rather, they entered and immediately began to devastate their surroundings, strictly business. The sheer shock of impact stunned the crowd a bit, taking them until the drop of II single "The Swimmer" to combust into flame. But once the wildfire began, it could not be quenched. The feeling of novelty swept the room, warm and thick. This opportunity, this room, this band... it's truly a gift from the band, not to be taken lightly. Each member of the audience proceeded to give back in the form of a hard shove across the mosh pit floor with a devious grin to follow.

Alex Edkins is intense enough when there isn't blood. Add in a visual confirmation of the hot, sticky substance running through your veins, pumping life through you as you get thrown across the claustrophobic mosh pit - then you have just about the most visceral punk experience you are going to have at Barboza. A hard fall into a cymbal and a flipped mic stand during a brutal, eleven minute take on "Wet Blanket" put a slice in Edkins eyebrow. Beside him, sweat runs from eyebrow to elbow on bassist Chris Slorach as he plays no less than three hundred or so slides up the neck on the extended bridge. His fingers must be made of actual leather. Behind them, working perilously hard on the drum kit, Hayden Menzies makes the bridge feel like a drum solo with accompaniment, feeding every eight bar turnover more energy, more adrenaline, more bloodlust. The crowd bounces like a pack of hyenas waiting to descend in a feeding frenzy. Every second of delay before the final break is as painful as it is satisfying, fueling the final push and pull through the pit for an explosive finish. This is METZ at their very best yet, and if the trajectory from their outset until now is anything to be considered, the best is only yet to come.


Related News & Reviews

Live Reviews

Live Review: Flight of the Conchords with Eugene Mirman at Marymoor Park 6/22

Well, Seattle, it looks like we've corrupted Flight of the Conchords. Jemaine Clement, the gap-toothed glasses-wearing half of the New Zealand duo, confessed to the audience: he ate half a banana... and just left the other half sitting backstage! WHOA. "I'm the Iggy Pop of the band," he admitted ru…

Read More
Live Reviews

Live Review: The Growlers with DJ Johnny Basil at Crocodile 6/16/16

There's very little surprise in seeing a two night Growlers stint at the Crocodile sold out as can be. The California surf rock band has seen some pretty stellar years of growth as of late, culminating in their excellent latest LP Chinese Fountain, seeing the band at their strongest and cleanest ye…

Read More