Metz live @ Whelans, Dublin 6 November 2015...

Rock music is in safe hands while bands like Toronto trio Metz exist; their brand of blitzkrieg punk noise is a refreshing reminder of why we once fell in love with rock music in the first place. At Whelan’s on Friday night, they stirred the mosh pit into action before they even took to the stage – a guitar line check was enough to set the kids at the front of the stage off and running. Metz are straight out of the garage – no pretence, no torturous self regard, just balls out, scorching guitar music with its roots in punk and hardcore. They are a one trick pony, but by God, that one trick is pretty special. Opening with ‘Headache’ from their self-titled debut, they screamed through the first four songs like they had a plane to catch, a blur of thunderous drums and distorted guitars before ‘Spit You Out’, a highlight from their recently released sophomore effort took things to a different level. The recent album is a sharper, more dynamic attack than their debut, balancing the extreme noise with a growing appreciation for pop hooks and melody; their most recent songs were undoubtedly the standout performances on the night. Even a couple of technical issues that resulted in lengthy delays between songs failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd – their best song by some distance ‘Acetate’ drew a huge reaction and a cover of the Damned’s ‘Neat, Neat, Neat’ had the more grizzled members of the audience nodding their heads in approval. They closed the set with fan favourite ‘Wet Blanket’ after just over an hour of scintillating, white hot, guitar noise that left the predominantly youthful audience aglow. For those of us who don’t get out much anymore and probably spend far too many Friday nights...

Desaparecidos live @ the Button Factory 7 February 2013...

  After treating Irish fans to a wonderful solo show on Tuesday night at the NCH, Nebraska’s finest Conor Oberst hooked up with the recently reformed Desaparecidos for a short but explosive set at Dublin’s The Button Factory on Thursday 7th February. In many ways, their brand of politically charged, post hardcore thrash seems even more relevant in these chaotic times than it did when they first hit the scene.  Desaparecidos released one album in 2002, the fantastic ‘Read Music/Speak Spanish’ before disbanding due to Obersts commitments with Bright Eyes and his solo projects. 2012 saw the release of the MariKKKopa / Backsell E.P., the bands first release in over a decade, and offered some hope that Oberst was ready to dedicate some time to this project. On the evidence of this showing, Desaparecidos could be something more than just a sideline for Oberst –this is a real band that delivered an unbelievably tight, hungry and powerful set for a group that, as Oberst confessed during the show, haven’t really rehearsed since last summer. Oberst sings and plays guitar but  there is no real sense that he is the star man –pointedly, he does not take centre stage leaving bass player and co-vocalist Landon Hedges out front. Every song from their sole album and last year’s E.P. release was greeted like a long lost friend by the fans  –scorching versions of ‘Man and Wife, The Former (Financial Planning)’,’ Greater Omaha’ and particularly ‘Backsell’ ignited the audience, who seemed to know every song word for word. Along the way, Oberst took the time to deliver pot shots at the American government, bankers and the state of Nevada but he reserved his most venomous comments for a particular Arizona lawman known for tough anti-immigration stance. Yes, we have heard this socio-political, agit-punk from other bands in the past, but it is difficult not to be swept up by the full on sonic assault and muscular riffing that underpins every Desaparecidos song. Obersts lyrics express the anger and dissatisfaction at the heart of their music as eloquently as we would expect from a song-writer of his calibre, and the music never resorts to out and out thrash, maintaining a strong melodic thrust throughout. New single ‘The Left is Right’ got an airing, and it seems that Desaparecidos have no intention of lightening things up any time soon on the evidence of this songs refrain of “ If one must die to save the 99/ Maybe it’s justified”. The band threw in a cover of ‘Spanish Bombs’ by the Clash to round off proceedings in a set that clocked in at under an hour with no encore. Let’s hope there is more to come from Desaparecidos – this was live music at its incendiary best....