Friday, June 22
I walked down the narrow stairs in Neumos' back hallway at about 7:35 Friday night, and entered Barboza at the best moment of the three-band, two-hour-and-forty-five minute show. Toronto punk trio METZ was in the throes of a mid-song rampage: guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins (who looks a bit like bespectacled Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney) was blurting wild screams into the mike while he strummed madly at his instrument; bassist Chris Slorach was violently sliding his fingers up the neck of the bass; and drummer Hayden Menzies was bringing the pain behind the kit. You'll find "punk" tags all over most of their songs on the Internet, and they are that generally, but there's more to their songs than than the term infers. The reverb and fuzz on the guitars gives them a lot of depth, and even a vague psychobilly attitude. The loud, dirty sound they hit you with, coupled with the sense of urgency they play with equates to something like sped-up grunge (this was accentuated by the fact that their last song ["Negative Space" I think?!] sounded kind of like an amped-up "Scoff" up until its ferocious brick-wall ending as the lights cut out). I didn't know a whole lot about these guys going into the show, aside from the fact that they had just signed to Sub Pop, who will be releasing their next album in October (btw, how great is it to see some loud, aggressive rock on their roster again? [answer: very great]), but I'm really fucking glad I got there to catch them. These guys have what it takes. October should bring great things.Kinski came on next. I have great memories of their shows--the best probably being a performance at the Weekly's Reverb Fest some years ago on the outdoor stage that was wedged between two buildings on Ballard Avenue behind what's now Café Vita (side note: that stage was rad)--but they felt a little out of place between two hotter-than-hot noise rock bands. The local band's mostly instrumental, slow-burning build-ups created a bit of a lull that many filled with beer and conversation, and as Barboza bartender Joel Schneider poured me a beer, I couldn't help but imagine his band (Absolute Monarchs) on stage instead. As with many of their songs though, Kinski's set elevated to a roaring volume by its end, and the room returned to its buzzing state.
|Loosely related: even the men's room was drunk by the time The Men went on|
Rowdy Brooklyn quartet The Men played for a full, but comfortably spaced room. They jammed with the kind of "We like to party" vigor that one expects after listening to their records. Their set was thoroughly enjoyable, and showed off their versatility (which really came to light on their recent all-over-the-place, but well-executed full-length Open Your Heart). A funny moment came midway through the set, when one of their guitarists announced "I feel like like we're doing a lot up here, and you're not doing much out there." I was about a quarter of the way back in the long, narrow room, and everything seemed groovy, but the first few rows of people looked like they buckled down after that, and made sure they rocked hard enough to not get called out again. The Men acted as both an exclamation point and a bookend (maybe like an exclamation in Spanish where there's punctuation on both ends of the phrase), on a night where they brought the heat like I thought they would, and METZ stole the show on the other end.