Live Reviews - Reviews

METZ w/ Oh Boland @ Whelan’s, Dublin

METZ Band Photo

It’s surprising that Toronto’s METZ didn’t come to Ireland when touring their self titled 2012 debut, given the appetite in this country for the sort of noise rock they trade in. So after a reportedly thrilling appearance at Electric Picnic this year, it’s nice to see them wrap up the current leg of their European tour behind even better follow up II with a stop off in Whelan’s.

Sadly Protomartyr, who accompanied them on the UK dates aren’t present tonight, but Co. Galway’s Oh Boland more than make up for that. Their hook laden garage pop feels like it could all fall apart at any moment but everything remains in one piece, with Niall Murphy’s guitar freakouts almost rivalling Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan, while his voice sounds like Bob Dylan if he’d grown up in Tuam and liked Thee Oh Sees. An audience heckle provokes some darkly comic stage banter about some of Tuam’s unfortunate history, but the trio also attract some overenthusiastic young lads on very possibly their first trip out of the house after one too many fizzy drinks, who are a bit of a distraction as they attempt to inappropriately mosh amongst themselves in a still half empty room, and continually wrestle each other to the ground (something they bizarrely even continue to do between bands).

METZ, playing to a now much fuller venue, do a fine job of recapturing the studio energy of tracks like ‘Wasted’ and new single ‘Eraser’, while the ferocity of ‘Spit You Out’ is a definite highlight, though the vocal melodies are often replaced with straight up screaming. The audience enthusiasm has continued, with a moshpit breaking out within seconds of the first drum beats of set opener ‘Headache’, and a man who really looks old enough to know better makes three separate attempts to stage dive (he eventually manages a brief crowd surf in the encore, but only after hilariously falling straight to the floor on his first attempt, and on his second he’s angrily confronted by one of the unfortunate girls in the front row that he’s just ploughed into without warning). As is often the case with antics like this, what starts out being mildly annoying does end up lending the gig a charmingly chaotic atmosphere, and the band also seem caught between these two emotions, seemingly revelling in the anarchy except for when it interferes with their equipment causing ‘Acetate’ to be restarted, while ‘Kicking a Can of Worms’, sweetly dedicated to their friends in Girl Band, is abandoned after similar technical problems midway through.

Aside from these brief stoppages, the sonic assault never really lets up, and even though the set is only a little over an hour, it feels as if they’ve managed to speed through almost their entire recorded output in that time, with a Damned cover thrown in for good measure. And with a reception like tonight’s, it’s hard to imagine they won’t pencil in an Irish date in support of album number three. Cathal McBride