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Austin Psych Fest: Metz

First night fits and dizzy spells
Luke Winkie, 10:47am, Fri. Apr. 26, 2013
photo by Shelley Hiam
Metz frontman Alex Edkins at Mohawk, 4.25.13

Last night at Mohawk for one of two Austin Psych Fest “kick-off parties,” the mid-slot headliners proved one point loud and clear. For all its ferocity, Metz remains pretty unassuming.

Fellow Toronto trio and current tour mates Odonis Odonis surfed fun, nervy psych-punk beforehand, while NYC’s A Place to Bury Strangers brought the noise afterward, but only Metz looked collegiate. They sounded anything but that.

Drummer Hayden Menzies sports a neck tattoo, but frontman Alex Edkins keeps his tidy blond hair above his fragile glasses, and bassist Chris Slorach looks like he hasn’t changed his wardrobe in a decade. They don’t look like hardcore kids, even if they sound like they’ve been doing this for a long time.

Despite the cavernous, 29-minute bomp of their Sub Pop debut last year, these three Canadian dudes aren’t so much professional as confident, ambivalent. Witness it in the way Edkins throws his guitar into the amps, shuddering with the ruptured sound, sweat dissolving the space between shirt and skin.

“Wet Blanket” tumbles out of him like broken glass, noise stretching into infinity. Metz carries itself like a torch. That’s the beauty of its eponymous platter. We’ve all heard loud music before, but Metz’s serrated post-hardcore – especially live at a packed Mohawk – will leave you dizzy and delirious.

And yet, Metz do it differently, more precisely, the bombast swallowing us up. It’s fun. They’re having fun. We’re having fun. This music isn’t ignorant, or happenstance. It’s the product of a threesome that’s worked very hard for its chaos. That’s why our feet never touched ground on “Get Off,” or for that matter, the band’s entire 25-minute set.

During one of the breaks, Edkins shouted out Quest For Fire, a Toronto psych-rock act that not only distinguished itself at Psych Fest last year, but who apparently gave Metz its first gig back in 2007. The way the latter played last night, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the last six years were practice for this moment.

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