Live Review

METZ, Birthdays, London

The room feels hot and sweaty and every song is a sonic attack, lean and uncompromising but frantically catchy.

As METZ are pulverizing the ear drums of the crowd downstairs in Birthdays, Harry Styles is celebrating his 19th birthday upstairs with a cavalcade of ‘stars’ including Nick Grimshaw, McFly and Pixie Lott.

Disappointingly we don’t get to see Styles crowdsurf to the pounding screech of ‘Wet Blanket’ or Grimshaw join in on the vocals for ‘Sad Pricks’. But they’re the ones who missed out. This is a show that perfectly suits Birthdays cramped, dark basement conditions perfectly. It’s a messy, intense joy.

Crushed Beaks start the night off and it’s a reminder of just how good they are. While other lesser bands have been hyped for greatness this year, Beaks’ scuzzy punk is elevated above their peers by the inventive guitar lines and stick in the head melodies. ‘Horror Shorts’ and ‘Close Ups’ both sound fantastic and ‘Breakdown’ shows that they know how to slow it down as well as blast it out. But it’s the new songs that really put a marker down for the future. More epic and complex than anything they’ve done before, while retaining that rush of immediacy it’s the sound of a band really finding their sound. With a new EP out next, 2013 could be Beaks-shaped.

Brighton’s The Wytches follow. There’s more than a whiff of Nirvana about them as well as a 60s garage influence. Tonight the psychedelia of their recorded tracks gets lost a little, replaced with a shuddering heaviness. But their Kyuss- ike riffs mesmerise and when they cut loose on freak out moments like the end of ‘Digsaw’ it really works.

METZ enter the stage and straight away they are bathed in bright white light. They take little time to get going. The room feels hot and sweaty and every song is a sonic attack, lean and uncompromising but frantically catchy. Alex Edkins’ gutteral screams dig into your brain and stay there, and the band sound like The Pixies, At The Drive-In and Shellac all thrown together. ‘Sad Pricks’, ‘Get Off ‘ and ‘Wasted’ are all ferocious and visceral anthems and the new track they play is as intense as anything off the album.

During a brief period of quiet, someone yells ‘You’re fit’ at Hayden Menzies but it’s lost in the Atlantic translation – and the thought occurs that maybe Styles has a competitor in the heartthrob stakes. It’s hard to imagine paparazzi shots of METZ on the front of the tabloids – but, as ‘Wet Blanket’’s roar caps off a powerful and potent show, it’s clear who the stars are down in the basement.

Tags: Metz, Features

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