On Oct. 8, La Sala Rossa hosted a trifecta of blisteringly loud acts. After spending an evening with METZ and other deafeningly-loud performances concert goers were left with one question—will my ears ever stop ringing?
The first band to take the stage was called DEAF, which should have been an indicator of the noise level to be expected. Their set was tight, fast, and energetic, a perfect opening act. Hardly taking a moment’s pause, DEAF ripped through a short set of hypnotic, feedback-based rockers before deferring the stage to Sigil, the night’s second performance. Playing a slightly longer yet equally ferocious set, they continued to build momentum.
It was clear that most audience members came to see the night’s headliners: Toronto-based noise rock trio, METZ. Crowds began to stream in towards the end of Sigil’s set, and by the time METZ took the stage, the venue was mostly filled. The cramped conditions could be attributed to the large mosh pit that formed tightly against the stage, pushing people together around the perimeter of the room. It’s understandable that most people would come for the top-billed act, but those who skipped out on the night’s first two bands missed a great hour of music.
METZ started their set with several songs off their new album, Strange Peace. METZ’s first two albums were built around tight, driving synchronicity between the band’s three members. Guitar, bass, and drums thrashed together in songs that frequently oscillated between excitement and aggression. While Strange Peace certainly does not lack either of the aforementioned characteristics, things seem a little less frantic this time around. The songs have longer segments, working rapid-fire punk music into extensive pieces.
When heard live, their new songs are spectacular. METZ have a certain energy that is best experienced from three feet in front of the stage rather than through a pair of headphones. Taking the stage with no introduction, they played several songs before singer Alex Edkins even addressed the crowd. Even then, whatever he said was often lost behind an incessant reverb. The focus was always on the music and the atmosphere it created: Minimal lighting, little interaction with the crowd, and a constant barrage of noise. It was a disorienting experience; songs often seemed to have neither a beginning nor an end, bleeding into each other in a long form thrash jam.
Despite the comparable levels of intensity across the night’s three acts, METZ elicited far and away the strongest response from the crowd. Whereas most of the audience stood almost uncomfortably still during the first hour or so of the night, the environment completely changed once the headliners arrived onstage. Renowned for the rowdiness of their shows, METZ has seen itself and its audiences injured due to the physical nature of their live sets. Although this was both a very lively and intense concert, it certainly wasn’t friendly. However, there was a sense of commonality that bound the experience. As soon as someone was pushed to the ground—about once every 30 seconds—there were five people there to help them up. Although this was an unrelenting show, it was not in any way an intimidating one. It was everything a punk show should be: Fast, fun, and a bonding experience of violent catharsis for everyone involved.