Birthdays in Dalston feels perfect for a two-night residency from noise-punk trio Metz, who seem capable of bursting ear drums with every riff. It’s small, cramped, hot and sweaty and as it’s the first Friday of the month, the beer is flowing.
First on the line-up is the hotly tipped Crushed Beaks who charm the early arrivers with fuzzy melodies and gravelly vocals. With a warmer sound than their counterparts this evening, the two-piece thrash out tunes like ‘Horror Shorts’ and ‘Grim’, mixing this with sweeter numbers such as recent single, ‘Breakdown’. Up next are Brighton’s The Wytches, who notch the volume up with a brand of psych-garage rock that drowns out any '60s influences with Bleach-era basslines and distortion filled choruses. It’s a great performance from the band that, judging from this evening’s performance, is a promising prospect for 2013.
Which brings us to our headliners. Quiet, underwhelmed, unanimated and, if we’re honest, a little pretentious. We are, of course, not referring to Metz, who bring with them a wave of noise-filled theatricality, but rather the audience who, aside from a bit of chin-stroking and foot-tapping appear completely nonplussed; analysing rather than engaging. It’s a shame because despite the little interaction from the crowd, Metz showcase a fantastic live performance created by the frantic energy of frontman Alex Edkins and bassist Chris Slorach.
They arrive on the stage and with instruction from Slorach transcend into total darkness. The lights flicker to crashing symbals of ‘Friday’ before the two really get going. They play off each other and although they are colliding around like pinballs they keep things tight. Taking a breath and a gulp of beer, Edkins reveals that since arriving in London the boys have taken to the bottle and with one more slug bursts into the opening chords of ‘Wasted'. The banter is kept to a minimum though as songs are delivered with a ferocity and immediacy characterised by the album. Still nothing from the crowd though.
In between album tracks, ‘Dirty Shirt’ and ‘Sad Pricks’, the band introduce a new, and as far as we can tell, untitled track full of depth rare to see in a three piece and which may be an indicator that these guys are here to stay.
A thunderous rendition of recent single, ‘Wet Blanket’, brings with it a brush of shoulders and a bit of spring in the lower limbs. Edkins becomes lost in a trance-like state during the instrumental, charging into the walls and drum kit before screaming periodically into the microphone.
The dual announcement of a finale and an encore finally tips those at the front over the edge and after almost 45 minutes of frenzied attack from the trio we finally have ourselves a mosh pit. You can only hope the band receives this kind of response when they return later in the year to support hardcore giants Fucked Up.
As we leave Birthdays in a contemplative mood and with ears ringing, Nick Grimshaw and his band of merry men glide through the doors to celebrate Harry Styles’ birthday. Suddenly everything makes sense.
Words by Andrew Darby
Photo by Robby Reis