Our first concert of the year started 2016 off incredibly strongly on Tuesday night at Philly’s most unlikely but beloved venue, the First Unitarian Church at 22nd and Chestnut. So Pitted, Bully and METZ rocked the building’s basement so hard it made braving the season’s (admittedly brief) first snow fully worthwhile.
Seattle grunge revivalists So Pitted hit the stage hard to start things off, a three piece with heavily distorted guitars, eerily echoed vocals and robotically staccato drum beats. Definitely unique both sonically and stylistically. Unfortunately we weren’t able to get any good pics of these guys due to their performance being completely bathed in darkness and blue light. As stated late in their set, their debut record comes out on Sub Pop (where else?) later this month.
Bully was one of the most buzzed about acts from the heavier end of the alt rock pool last year and usually when the mainstream gets ahold of an underground-y, punk-ish type band you can tell they have no idea what they’re talking about and that band usually sucks, but this Nashville foursome completely live up to the hype and then some, led by the volcanic fury exploding from vocalist Alicia Bognanno’s diminutive frame. The band’s lengthy set was mostly comprised of material from last year’s “Feels Like”, here sounding less on the poppy side and more raw, giving the band’s bass-y low end and Bognanno’s occasional growls and screams an almost primal intensity. Consider me impressed.
Speaking of living up to their reputation, an awed hush came over the packed basement as the men of METZ entered the stage and began to tune their instruments. We all knew something truly special was about to happen and when the absolutely impenetrable wall of fuzz and feedback erupted from the stage we knew we were right. The famed Canadian noise rock trio split time between their two LPs and each track was a heavy, catchy three minute masterpiece, powered by the guitar string abuse and snotty punk rock howl of Alex Edkins, Chris Slorach’s dynamically heavy bass chug and Hayden Menzies’ rapid fire drumming.
After a show like this, especially on a weeknight (fuck you, I’m old), I’d be just about spent by the end of the headliner’s set, but METZ could’ve played for another hour and I’d have been right there in the front rapturously devouring every eardrum annihilating decibel. That’s just about the highest compliment I can give.
-Words by Kevin Hawkey – Photos by Megan Hawkey