Zoom quizzes, FaceTime calls, Deliveroo takeaways; none of these are new things but during Covid times, its these things that have kept us connected or provided a source of comfort in a period of uncertainty and anxiety. In the most abnormal moment of a generation, it’s human nature to try and retain some normality or something that closely resembles it. With coronavirus wreaking havoc across the globe, this has meant live music, as we know it, has ground to a frustrating halt. Some alternatives have presented themselves; either socially distant, all seated shows or in the case of Canadian noiseniks, METZ, a “live” stream from The Opera House in Toronto. The trio opted to record a performance at their beloved hometown venue, to document the release of their latest album ‘Atlas Vending’, with a sneaky encore of ‘Negative Space’ and ‘Wet Blanket’ from the group’s eponymous debut release, thrown in for good measure. To be all encompassing for those across different time zones, the stream was aired on October 15th PST and ET, while replaying again on 17th October BST, CET and AEST. While we can’t all saviour the majesty of seeing bands in the flesh, with fellow music lovers locked in perfect harmony, acts like METZ are doing what they can to bring their live show to their fans and that has to be applauded.
You’ve got to hand it to METZ for making their live stream of ‘Atlas Vending’ an event; their performance wasn’t just merely the band plugging in and playing to a static camera. The way the show had been edited and presented via a whole host of different angles really brought home an immersive experience, from its lighting, camera angles and of course, how the three band members attacked each track with the same feral energy you’d expect from METZ and their gnarled post-punk via the way of hardcore. Whether it was the shifting from a black and white palette to the vivid splash of colour when opening track ‘Pulse’ exploded into life, or up-close and personal camera shots of all three band members, as if your view had been planted onto the lip of The Opera House’s stage, there’s no doubt a lot of thought has gone into the group’s unique show. Each song from ‘Atlas Vending’, was played in sequence and had been brought to raucous life, with the three-piece playing with every muscle and sinew, as if to a packed out venue, rather than their fans watching the show through whatever internet enabled device they had at their disposal. For those interested, this writer had this very same laptop hooked up to a TV using a HDMI cable, whilst enjoying the gig from the comfort of my sofa, with a beer, in my pyjamas.
Of course, it’s not the same as being actually at a METZ gig, living and breathing the performance with that rush of endorphins you all know and love so well; but given that experience is off the table for the foreseeable future, these kind of well-produced, wholly immersive online live gigs will keep most fans sated until we’re back in a sweaty room together, lost in the moment, as if this horrible mess of a year has been nothing but a distant memory.