Published May 18, 2013The sold-out show at Lee's Palace began when Toronto's own scrappy, scummy garage punk outfit the Soupcans set off a line of pop caps at the foot of the stage, took a moment to be terribly pleased with themselves, and then launched into a sharp, short set. Referring to themselves as "perverse, avant garbage," they blended a deliciously messy rock aesthetic with moments of flourish and even technicality. This is joyful filth not for the sake of proficiency, but despite it. Frontman Davod Blevans is a particularly arresting front-man, contorting his devilishly lean body in a spastic dance somewhere between pop-and-lock and seizure as he played. Giovanni Ricci made the most of his stripped-down drum set-up, keeping the percussion urgent and primal, while relatively restrained bassist Strictly Nick added an air of stateliness to the proceedings.
In the continuing spirit of allowing bands to make up their own genres, Toronto's "industrial surf punk" darlings Odonis Odonis put on an excellent set that showcased their ability to integrate loud, grimy electronica into a sense of punk abandon. Lit by a stark, angular white light, their set was more serious in tone than many they have played; it was clear that they wanted to bring their A-game when playing with adored noisemakers METZ, and they succeeded. The set alternated between the clear and the cacophonous, occasionally clearing into crystalline moments, before fracturing again and becoming complex and delightfully messy again. Odonis Odonis played with an edge or urgent fear that deeply suited them.
By the time METZ took the stage, Lee's Palace was wall-to-wall with eager faces and sweaty bodies, and their arrival was greeted with an adoring roar. METZ have a clear vision and aesthetic, and artfully layering the squalling noisecore and sticky, static-y grunge on top of garage rock song structures, and their set perfect captured the raucous, wild energy they love to project. They played the entirety of their self-titled debut, and debuted a new song when the rabid audience demanded an encore, which actually came across more lean and cerebral than most of their current work.
Watching them live, though, their extremely strategic approach to performance and portrayal was also keenly apparent: while their devotion to noise and chaotic approach would make them well suited to sharing the stage with hardcore, noise and even metal bands tjat are closer to their peers; however, they carefully portray themselves as extremely heavy indie rock, and are always sure to be the heaviest thing on the bill by far. While there was no doubt that METZ brought the house down at Lee's Palace, it is also clear that they hit as hard as they do because of carefully chosen context. Aesthetic and choices aside, it was a triumphant homecoming for METZ, who did their absolute best to blow eardrums and minds in thanks to the hometown support.