METZ – Majestic Theater, Madison WI – 9/23/17

To say that the METZ show was amazing would be an unabashed understatement.

I arrived 15 minutes before doors opened, and I was only the 5th person in line. As I talked about in my pre-show post, it’s always a gamble showing up too early, but I wanted to be assured a stage front position. I got it. Surprisingly, at 15 minutes to show time there were only 20 people inside. I counted. I actually went and sat down at one of the tables and made my pre-show post to keep busy until show time. My eventual spot was there, right at stage front, directly in front of the drum kit, which was about a foot from the edge of the stage.

A group of 3 girls came in and headed down front about 5 minutes to show time and I decided that it was time to claim my position. I stood in front of the drum set and put on my “you shall not move me” face.

In the end, even at the height of the show there was respectful room between everyone and it was a calm, but SO digging it, crowd. My wish to be dead center was realized and I was glad I was. All 3 bands were great and METZ SHOULD be experienced up close if you can.

Promptly at 9, the first band came out. FACS.

They are a 3 piece from Chicago. They were awesome. I couldn’t find out much about these guys, but here is a link to their Bandcamp page:

As I said I was at ground zero of the drum kit and it was intense. The band (I hope I have this right!) is Jonathan van Herik (guitar), Noah Leger (drums) and Brian Case (bass) and from the first pound of the drum, I loved it. It was drony, full of bass and the drums were so loud and booming that they airflow actually moved my shirt as I stood there.

After a moment I tried out my panorama feature on my new phone, not really expecting much, but I think it turned out great.

To be fair I couldn’t make out any of the vocals. Not a one. Also to be fair, in the position I stood almost all the speakers are way outside and almost behind you. It didn’t matter. This stuff was great.

There was a giant panel of effects and though van Herik mainly stood in one spot the whole set, his feet and hands were making some incredible sounds… drony like I like and smooth changes and he used the feedback as another instrument. It was cool.

Case was prowling around and doing vocals. He was very into the groove.

The red light was horrible for pictures, but I got a few keepers.

Then there was Noah. He was crushing it through every song. Pounding pounding pounding. It was unbelievably cool being front and center for that.

He was a flurry of arms and when he hit the Sabian cymbals I could feel the air whooshing over me, and the bass drum was beating my heart for me. So damn cool.

Here is van Herik making the noise. He even broke a string at one point and just let it hang and kept on going. It wasn’t so much about individual notes as a reverb build up of rhythms and textures.

They played a short set, but I will be looking for more from them. Well worth checking out for if you see them come to your area. Make sure to check out the Bandcamp page.

Next up was Dasher. They set up quick and got right into it.

Dasher is Kylee Kimbrough (Drums and Vocals), Gary Magilla
(Bass) and Derek McCain (Guitar). Here is their Bandcamp page.

To say that Kylee is intense is right on the mark. At one point froth was dripping from her mouth. I am not kidding. She bashed her mix and match drum set with a fervor that was ferocious. Her vocals and facial expression matched. I couldn’t really make out the words, but again, it didn’t seem that important to the feel of the experience. That’s funny coming from me, a guy who hates when vocals are buried in the mix of any song, but here, with Kylee 2 feet away from me… the words were superfluous. She was like a caged animal. After some of the songs she got up from the drum seat and walked around the stage a bit, like she was shaking off the last song before storming into the next.

The Dasher music was more hard-edged than PACS, but still had a lot of great guitar from Derek. He also used pedals and feedback, and occasionally would put the tuning peg end of the guitar directly on the floor to add another element of sound. It was great.

and unlike PACS he was very animated while playing and used his space well. Getting up close to the speakers to ramp up the feedback to a chorus of cacophony. Then there was Gary on the bass with flying fingers.

He played not as just a mere backing groove, he was part of the thrust of the music. I barely had any idea what to watch as this show was going on, like if I looked stage left I would miss something stage right.  It was that good.

At the end of the last song of their set Kylee went nuts and started kicking over the cymbal stands in a Who-ish fashion and threw down her drumsticks.

That signaled the end.

One of the drum sticks careened off into the crowd right next to me and landed at the feet of a guy in the crowd who I could see mentally debating if he would bend down and pick it up. He eventually did. I would have dived for it like a home run baseball at a World Series. I am just that musically nerdy.

As it turns out, my impression that the guy was not impressed with a drumstick that Kylee has abused for 6 straight songs, was true. As METZ played he moved up to the stage and set the drumstick down, then walked away and left it after the show. I snagged it.

It IS beaten up. For sure.

I also got a set list. Dalton would be proud.

Dasher was equal parts screamo punk and straight ahead rock. I’m curious to hear it with vocals. I need to check out the album.

As the stage was being changed over, Otis, who came with Amy, joined me at stage front.

I took this shot after the band had started. You can see the gleam in our eyes.

METZ started and I was instantly mesmerized by the intensity, and the sound and power.

METZ is Alex Edkins (guitar, vocals), Hayden Menzies (drums), and Chris Slorach (bass).

My history with METZ is literally by chance. 2 Years ago on Record Store day I entered a drawing and won my pick from a list of new records. I checked them all out on Spotify and some were okay, some not, but when I got to METZ… I was blown away. It was the METZ second album. I loved it. So the chance to see them live was not to be missed. I had no idea it would be SO awesome.

This panorama shot didn’t come out as good as the others, but I had to include it simply because of Otis’s face. We were already blissed out by this point. In some ways I don’t even know where to begin to describe the show. It was SO intense and got to me so deeply that I am having a hard time finding the words. Melodramatic perhaps, but day after show I am still having goosebumps. Here are some pics of the guys.

It wasn’t easy to get a good clear shot of Hayden. He was usually just a blur.

The music was primal. It had elements of drone with hard-driving thudding bass lines. Each instrument was essential. All three are intertwined perfectly. It was the closest I have been in a long long time to just closing my eyes and simply moving to the sound. Otis was close to pogoing and was surprised there wasn’t a mosh pit going on.

There were vocals, but I couldn’t make them out much. Again, this was not really important. The music was connecting with me at a much more guttural level. It was ALL feel for me. Booming, droning, changes by Chris were hypnotizing.

Every song was incredible.

The crowd, though animated was mostly head bobbing or dancing where they stood, feeling it like me. We were all under their spell.

These guys were tearing it up non-stop.

The whole set was a short burst of balls to the wall intensity that was truly an awesome experience that I was ecstatic to have been able to be down front for. This show will stay in my top 5 for a long long time.

Alex wrung it all out on that guitar. He gave it all and beyond.

The set was short sadly, and we wanted them to come back out, but it was not to be. It took a few minutes and the house lights to come up before we grudgingly walked away from the magic spot at stage front.

Thanks guys. You brought it.

I hit the merch table on the way out to pick up the first album

and the new album “Strange Peace”

This is the Loser Edition. First run colored vinyl!

This was an amazing show. Have I made that clear? Amazing.

Thank you METZ, Dahser and PACS.

Thank you Majestic.

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