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Andrew Flanagan , November 29th, 2012 08:15

Last week METZ played alongside Yvette and Bennio Qwerty at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory. Andrew Flanagan was there, and found it a strangely conflicted experience

I'm just going to keep my eyes on the old poet – a five-foot-tall man in his early 70s if he's a day, wearing a dark suit, white shirt, with a face more than vaguely like Gore Vidal's and eyes of measured bemusement, all "Oh, here we go again" – throughout the show, and see what he thinks about what's about to happen.

METZ are now, a month and change removed from the release of their debut record on Sub Pop, able to sell out venues. Apparently revivified since their appearance at CMJ in October – an event with every reason to suck the life out of you – METZ have a simple formula for their performances: play the record (less one song, plus a different, earlier song). Shake. Repeat. Since their record is about thirty minutes long this makes for a short injection, just long enough to ruffle your feathers and clear the cobwebs and remind you of the baptismal possibilities of volume and serration. Which isn't to say it is particularly and religiously serious, their thing. This isn't a Sunn O))) show. The lyrics, for one, consistently read like some just-too-brooding penwork of Joey Ramone:

"Don’t want to watch the television / Or pick up the phone / So many different people talking at me / Why don’t they leave me alone?"

As well, singer and guitarist Alex Edkins seems like a real nice guy, joking between songs and smiling wide at his bandmates' frequent asides. But live he produces a shivering, unsettling rage that issues out from his savagely shook, GIF-like head into the spinal base of everyone watching. His doing that is what rock and roll is for. But.

Seeing a band with so much built in aggression, after the many years I've spent listening and obsessing and then retreating and questioning and then returning to it, ad nauseum, is strange. It doesn't feel threatening (and not because they're from Canada, to which they addressed: "No more Canada jokes. We're just gonna do a bunch of shit."), despite the semi-raucous circle pit. METZ will scratch that itch (as will many others, like Minneapolis' Buildings or STNNNG, or New York's The Men, or Pennsylvania's Pissed Jeans), but "this" (of course not this... except when it is) type of music has been the province of the Warped Tour for far more time than it was for Nirvana at this point, and so my slightly weathered connection to it is so far removed from the context that birthed it in my mind (and probably METZ's, too) that it ends up feeling somehow uncomfortable, as if we're watching The Real Thing while knowing, secretly, it never will be. There's no danger in punk or post-punk or hnnngh-punk because the danger lies elsewhere. More often than not, in normal life. It offers less to the older in a live setting. But what you do at home with is your own business.

The poet is watching keenly, coldly smiling.

"Thanks so fuckin' much," Edkins says. The poet nods and leaves.

Opener addendum - Yvette

With an effects board that could launch an MQ1 Predator and a rolling, winding drummer who looks to be in slightly frustrated trance, Yvette traffics in mean tones; precision serration, colors of sweat and simmering sonic pixels and a stomp box for the ass and its proclivities. HEALTH would be a touchstone, though Yvette requires less than half the manpower to make music at least as interesting as their Angeleno brethren. Part of the intention here seems a dance floor and, while the crowd isn't having it here, they easily could at home.