Half Angel, ALL Light – Review of The Men and METZ at The Sinclair
The Men and METZ
The Sinclair, Harvard Square, 07/26/13
I’ve been appreciating The Men’s records the past few years, and with this years release of New Moon, they went from a band I liked, to a band I love. Reviews were initially mixed on New Moon because it wasn’t as heavy as previous releases, leaning more towards Crazy Horse era Neil Young than the punk they were known for. What some considered disappointment, I looked at as evolution, and if last nights show proved anything, it’s that The Men have Frankensteined a style that’s unique to them.
While New Moon is still a rocker, there are acoustic guitars and harmonicas present throughout the album, however, none of these made it last night as they plugged in with the volume set to loud. You could tell from the very beginning that their set would be heavy, and when opening for METZ that’s to be expected. A swirl of feedback beckoned the beginning of their show, and from there The Men took off into a loud and hazy psychedelic flight. Fuzzed out distortion ruled their set as dueling guitars squelched and competed with some innovative lap steel. Meanwhile, Bassist Ben Greenberg provided a playful backbone – and what stood out most from the set was their pure passion on stage and their ability to get lost together. Every note wasn’t perfect, but every note came from a place that was genuine. The highlight for me was a raunchy rendition of “I Saw Her Face” – which bled well past 10 minutes, featuring a slow build up that eventually let loose into a frenzied free for all.
After The Men finished their set the crowd got a chance to catch it’s breath, but not for long, because METZ took the stage with an undeniable immediacy. The band’s been given some comparisons to Bleach-era Nirvana, and that description isn’t too far off, albeit a little too much praise for my liking, but still, I can see where it comes from. Their music is more hardcore than punk, and what makes them stand out is their ability to have Pop undertones filter from the aggressive nature of their music – which definitely sets the stage for them having some crossover appeal. I really enjoyed watching them, and found myself dancing in a pit for the first time in quite awhile, guarding my recently purchased Men record with a fervor – however, I’d take going to a Men show over METZ. METZ certainly has the hype now, and their songs definitely have a lot more immediacy, but with songs playing off of a Pixie-like hard/soft formula, the diversity in the music lacked from song to song, whereas The Men traded singers with nearly every song, and could transition from a slow burner to a ferocious melt down in a succinct manner. Either way, on night like this you just can’t go wrong with either band, and admittedly METZ likely brought the best out of The Men – which is what a complimentary bill should do. Killer Venue. Killer Music.