Low Life ambled on stage and lurched into a 30 minute set of songs that swung from Black Flag punk to Bauhaus goth dirges, often within the same song. You got the feeling the songs could fall apart at any time yet the rhythm section was solid – allowing the guitars to dispatch primitive punk bar chords, heavily chorused textures and squalls of feedback. Low Life created a curious and often strangely captivating collision of sounds.
My Disco swung the pendulum about as far to the other side of the spectrum as possible. As their career has progressed, their music has evolved into a minimalist experiment in texture and impact. They stood silent and still for minutes before the first doom-laden explosion tested the PA’s limits. Notes were sparse and an avant-garde aesthetic was omnipresent through their set as the guitar sounded more like a modem in wood-chipper than a traditional distorted rock instrument. It was a dramatic and intense set that maintained the audience’s attention and did serve to build the musical tension in the room before Metz arrived to release it – but ultimately My Disco felt like the artful ugly duckling and a mismatch on this particular bill.
METZ came on like a dropped match in a fireworks factory after the stark austerity that preceded them. They’re a perfectly balanced trio, the sum strength of its punk rock parts. Over an hour they barely let up, with sweat-soaked shirts, fogged-up glasses and neck veins bulging. They unleashed wave after wave of primal military grade rhythms that were pummelling yet still with a measure of groove, that had the more energetic punters engaged in a loose-limbed middle ground between dancing and moshing. Spit You Out, Headache, a new song Eraser and so many others surged and thrashed like a mutant Nirvana, Jesus Lizard and Big Black hybrid. METZ laid sonic waste to the mid week malaise and renewed faith in the power of raw and passionate rock ’n’ roll.