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...

The Twilight Sad Live @ Whelans, Dublin 2nd May 2015...

Scottish outfit The Twilight Sad rolled into town last Saturday to present their own brand of Post Punk miserabilia before a Dublin audience for the first time since 2013. The weather gods could not have chosen a more fitting headline act – the relentlessly gloomy weather seemed rather apt for a band that cite ‘drinking and making miserable music’ as their most enjoyable pursuits on their Twitter bio. Though not a full house, a very respectable crowd turned up at Whelan’s to pay homage – with four very fine albums behind them since forming in 2003, the Twilight Sad are beginning to build up a dedicated live following. Opening with ‘There’s A Girl in The Corner’ from their most recent record, the broodingly powerful ‘Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave’,  The Twilight Sad delivered a tight and powerful set, drawing mainly from their new album, but containing a liberal sprinkling of material stretching back to their 2007 debut. Singer James Alexander Graham’s compelling if slightly contrived stage presence provided the main focal point as the band whipped up an impressive maelstrom of Post Punk noise before a very receptive Dublin audience. Graham was moved to remark that the show was ‘exactly what the band needed at this point’ in what seems like a long and arduous tour. The set was well paced, with no discernible lulls and plenty of highlights – ‘Last January’, ‘I Became A Prostitute’ and ‘The Wrong Car’ all raised the roof but it was the trio of songs from their debut album ‘Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters’ that turned out to be the big winners on the night. These three songs proved to be the most dramatic and dynamic songs in the set, with Graham’s voice showcased at its...