by Nash Bussieres *Sorry for the awful pics. I took roughly 50 with my iPhone and 3 looked okay-ish. The Metz/Archers of Loaf show at The Phoenix was strange for many reasons and literally none of those reasons were the fault of the bands. AoL has been one of my favourite bands since I was in grade 7 or 8. A decade of fanaticism would make anyone overly excited to be a part of something they thought might never happen. Let this be a short warning to you that this is a very self-centric post. At first I was only planning to duck in and see Archers of Loaf and then leave after because what I’ve heard of Metz’s recorded material has done nothing for me. Due to me not being able to read schedules properly, I got to the Phoenix half an hour before doors even opened. I’m glad I did. Strange Thing #1 The lineup of people excited to see the show quickly grew to a point where the tail-end no longer seemed to exist, but rather just fad into the distance. I really wasn’t aware that AoL had such a rabid following. Strange Thing #2 Once we got in, I had about an hour to kill before Metz came on. I grabbed some beer and quickly realized that I, with the exception of one or two people was the only dude not in his 30s or 40s. I felt like I walked into a Gen-X music convention or like, a Nickelback concert or something. Strange Thing #3 Metz was undeniably phenomenal. I have absolutely no idea why their recorded music never stuck with me because their performance that night was easily one of the best of NXNE for me. Full of energy, passion and angst, I was definitely ready to mosh (but was afraid I’d accidentally break some of the other patrons calcium deficient bones), and that’s not something I was expecting. They smashed through their songs at a blistering pace and had tons of groovy and unusual stop/start things going on. They sound like the indie equivalent to Botch (even moreso than Minus the Bear! — no one who reads this blog is likely to get that joke, but believe me, it’s funny). They are much more aggressive live than they are on their recordings. Since seeing them live I’ve fallen in love with their music. A good live performance can completely change your view on a band’s music, and Metz pulled it off. Strange Thing #4 Archers of Loaf are old now. I am a moron for assuming the dudes in the “Harnessed in Slums” video (circa 95 I believe?) would look the same as they did almost 20 years ago. I had never seen recent pictures of them, so it was honestly quite a shock to see them at this day and age. No matter! They played a very diverse set which encapsulated almost all of the songs from Icky Mettle and Vee Vee. At first it seemed like they made some weird song choices, but as the 1+ hour set progressed, I noticed they weren’t playing strange picks: they were playing everything. I was front and center jumping around like an idiot yelling all the words to every song in a hilariously off key manner, but so were all the soccer moms, so I fit right in. Their encore mini-set included “Wrong,” which sent The Phoenix into a frenzy. I honestly thought a middle-aged mosh pit was going to go down, and as much as I wished it’d happen, no dice. These guys were my age before I was born, and although they’re playing songs that are 20 years old, you’d never be able to tell. If you write good songs, apparently people notice (who knew!?). And, if, for whatever reason you feel like going on tour years later, your fans will be as rabid as ever. This show was the highlight of NXNE for me, because amidst all of the baby bands and their sold out gigs, it’s nice to see that legends still get the respect they deserve for the fans that never went away. Metz’s Bandcamp BONUS Strange Thing: I saw a dude that looked exactly like me, talked exactly like I talked and was interested in the same line of work as I am. I won’t go into more details about the guy, but I’m pretty sure there was more than one Twilight Zone episode on this sort of thing.