Words: Isabella Trimboli
Photos: Juliette Younger
Sydney punks Low Life kick off the night, knocking out a tumultuous set of callous gothic rock that is equal parts menacing and fragile. They play with fervency and purpose, a promising sign from the group who are busy following up their riotous debut LP Dogging.
In a stark contrast, My Disco shroud themselves in darkness, taking more cues from art installations than rock shows. Drummer, Rohan Rebeiro, remains the only visible member, illuminated by the animation that moves in time with the music behind him. The band oscillates between bursts of noisy post-punk guitar screeches, to white noise - a move, which, coupled with the graphics, is intentionally jarring.
At their best, My Disco sound like a youthful, angrier Swans - releasing a terrifying wall of sound that reverberates through the crowd. At their worst, they’re sparse and seem indulgent - losing their momentum as the crowd grows restless throughout unnecessary, self-serving solos. Awkward intervals are endured as barside conversations take over the extended hushed drone of the band, despite the best efforts of the very polite audience.
My Disco are unique in their stoic, unwavering experimental output, but ultimately the crowd wasn’t buying it. It felt mismatched with METZ, a band that would probably wince at the word ‘minimalist’.
For METZ are a brazen, noisy punk band - and a good one at that. Their set is a relentless hour-long flurry of fuzz, drone and power chords, all churned together and spat out ferociously at the audience. When guitarist and singer, Alex Edkins, doesn’t get his desired reaction, he leaps to the front of the stage, stomping his feet at the front of the pits. It’s aggressive and commanding, like all dissonant punk rock should be.
The trio run through their eponymous debut and 2015 follow up II, with speed, agility and energy; the sounds and screams of their albums even more explosive and raucous in the flesh. That’s not to say METZ are void of melody; songs like Eraser and Wasted display an artful balance of songwritership and energy, garnering the wayward pogo dancing and head banging delight of the crowd. By the end of the set, each band member is doused in sweat, having performed an exhaustive, dynamic and powerful set.
While I’m leaving the venue, I notice the huge queue for the merch stand. The people waiting wear a uniform of obscure band shirts - VOID, Drive Like Jehu, Big Black - and they’re ready to add a METZ tee to the collection. A telling endorsement for a band who rightly sit at the front and centre of modern day noise punk.