Alex Edkins (guitar, vocals) and Hayden Menzies (drums) hail from Ottowa
I'm not exactly the world's most spontaneous person. It's counterproductive when you cobble together your income from a variety of part-time and freelance gigs. If I pass up an assignment—or don't get one in on time—I might not be able to pay my rent (it's a constant struggle), but sometimes you just gotta make like Tom Cruise in Risky Business... as opposed to Tom Cruise in most everything else.
So my plan for last Friday was to wrap up my office work, catch METZ at Barboza, grab a bite to eat, and spend the rest of the night working on the pile of reviews that were due Tuesday (yes, that meant taking off before Kinski and the Men hit the stage). That's not what happened. Instead, I got to the club and ran into my friend, Chris E., who told me he'd be interviewing the band after the show. That caught my attention, because I didn't know much about them, but I really like the bits and pieces of their music I've heard online (I wrote a show preview here).
Chris Slorach hails from Toronto
I'm glad Bekah from Sub Pop let me know they'd be starting at 7:30pm, or I might've missed their set. As it was, they were already playing when I got there, and I knew immediately that this maelstrom was for me—though the volume made it impossible for me to hear the doorman; I guess he's used to it, because he looked irritated when I asked him to repeat whatever it was he was trying to say.
During METZ's sweat-soaked set, Chris E. and I agreed that they recaptured that bludgeoning Amphetamine Reptile/Touch & Go sound of yore. That isn't to suggest that they recall any one particular act, but we were both reminded of indie-era Helmet. I also mentioned Halo of Flies, while Chris brought up the U-Men.
Later, we met up with Frank from Sub Pop, who cited Shellac, and I'll buy that, too. He may not look like an imposing fellow, but Alex has one hell of a wail, and he kept it up the entire time. I haven't heard caterwauling like that since the halcyon days of the Laughing Hyenas, but where singer John Brannon even looked a little scary, Alex wore a cord around the back of his head that connected the earpieces on his glasses. Clearly, the man came prepared to rock—and he didn't care how geeky that made him look (not very geeky at all, as it turns out).
Afterward, I didn't want to go home, not when I had the opportunity to get to know these guys better, so I chucked my plans—"What the fuck!"—and went off to get a drink with Chris, Frank, and the band. I asked Chris S., the bass player, if Mudhoney, with whom they played some dates last fall, had anything to do with their signing to Sub Pop, and he said he didn't think so, though he was thrilled to see Mark Arm at Friday's show. Instead, he said it had more to do with Toronto's the Constantines, a one-time Sub Pop four-piece that he used to manage.
We spent the rest of the time talking about their history, and they never once mentioned Am Rep or Touch & Go, though they don't seem to mind the comparisons. Instead, Chris S. and I bonded over a mutual admiration for Mick Collins. "I really like that one band," he said. I knew he didn't mean the Dirtbombs or the Gories, because we'd already talked about them. "Blacktop?" I asked. "No, not them." He got out his cell phone. "The Screws," he said. I should've figured he'd go for the roughest, toughest incarnation of the Collins aesthetic, but METZ are hardly tough guys off stage—"We see ourselves more as a pop band," he admitted at one point, and even thanked me for my Line Out post. Good manners! You gotta love it. (Okay, he gave me a hug, too.)
Alex, Hayden, and Chris had to borrow Kinski's equipment
After a few drinks—they had scotch, I had cider—we closed out the tab, and Frank and METZ headed back to Barboza to catch the Men. According to Chris S., they'd seen them before; they were looking forward to seeing them again. Chris E. and I decided to do some catching up instead, which meant more drinks and more talk, and I never did work on any reviews that night...but I did meet my deadline. METZ returns to Seattle in November, and I predict they'll be playing a bigger venue. Don't miss 'em. To quote my friend, Brian: "They melted my face."