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METZ + BULLY + PALM: Live in New York

metz13.01.16 BOWERY BALLROOM, NEW YORK

On a freezing cold Wednesday evening in New York, there was some serious heat generated in the Bowery Ballroom. Those that were there to witness three bands give spectacular performances were rewarded for traipsing out into the bleak evening in the Big Apple.

First up were Philadelphia’s Palm. There’s a lot of buzz about this band at the moment. Although they were the opening act and came on at 9pm (that’s early in New York!) there was quite the crowd. Fittingly, the last song played by the DJ before Palm came on stage was a David Bowie number. It was fitting because Palm are experimental, jazzy at times, discordant at others and focus the two guitars high up the fret and the interplay between the two was fascinating to watch and hear. Backed up by a Frank Zappa lookalike bassist and some very intricate and coolpalm drumming, the male and female lead guitarists shared vocal duties. The collective noise they made is hard to describe beyond the words used above but it somehow works. There was an element of “shoegaze” and the first “thank you” came after 3 songs and sustained applause from the crowd who were really into it. Check out Palm here: https://palmnewyork.bandcamp.com/

The room started to fill up and the anticipation for Bully was building. Like Palm, the band came on stage to tune up, hook up the amps and do a last minute sound check. Off they went for a few minutes only to come back on, plug in and rip into the opening song with a fury that I haven’t seen for a while. I felt as though I was witnessing a band in a smallish venue before they go massive – sort of like Nirvana in London when they supported Tad in the early 1990’s – they were simply brilliant. In Alicia Bognanno they band has an immediate focal point. Sporting a T-Shirt with the words “You must be walking backwards because I can only see an asshole” and an unruly mop of blond hair, she is as cool as you like and engaged in some warm banter bullywith the crowd. As she delivers some of the most powerful songs you will hear, I was trying to think who she reminded me of…I went through a number of female singer/guitarists and thought of Justine Frischmann of Elastica, Sonya Madan of Echobelly until I realized that I was being sexist, Alicia reminded me most of Kurt Cobain.

This band is not all about Alicia though, the bassist was excellent, the second guitar (often the lead guitar) was incredible and the drumming created a frenzied and wild mosh pit with Alicia urging the excited crowd to “be nice.” The sound is an updated version of the Pixies, Nirvana, Dinosaur Jnr. Delivered by a group who are tight and on the way up. The album ‘Feels Like’ https://bullythemusic.bandcamp.com/merch/feels-like-limited-edition-blue-red-splatter is a must buy and formed the basis of the set. Alicia has written some great songs and the band belted them out as she called out headliners Metz as the “best band she had seen live” – I couldn’t believe that they would be able to match Bully to be honest.

At 11.00pm (after also setting up their own gear) the three guys from Ottawa walked onto the stage and the room was full…there was truly an metzelectricity in the Bowery Ballroom and then, oh my goodness, Metz launched into Get Off which sounded like the devil was being exorcised from the room…aided by strobe lights and an all action stage presence, the crowd removed their hats and coats and demanded the volume louder! By the third song, the noise was at My Bloody Valentine levels and the energy was taken up 3 notches…I was awestruck…these three guys are absolutely unbelievable. They are described as “Noise Pop” and I think that is a fair description – there is melody and there are hooks but the overall product is sheer energy, sheer noise and sheer power…it just hits you again and again and, in a live setting like this, it is a thing of beauty.

I had to leave before the end of the gig but I will definitely seek Metz out again. They are on a substantial tour – http://www.metzztem.com/ – check them out and take ear-plugs…

Stumpy – Punk Online

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