METZ + Preoccupations + Facs @ Fairmount Theatre – 6 December 2021

Scroll this

Every gig around the world right now must feel like this – an absolute celebration.  How else do you explain the fact that Fairmount Theatre is this packed out on a Monday night before any of tonight’s 3 bands have played?!  After over a year and a half off the gig wagon, evidently nobody wants to take a single minute of live music for granted.

Of course, another explanation is that the first band, Facs, are really good, and everyone wants to see them.  A few bars in, I see that’s a plausible reason too.  The Chicago trio somehow seem to easily fill the wide Fairmount stage with a fairly minimal stage setup, and unquestionably fill the rest of the room with a 35-minute sonic assault.  The churning sludgy bass and pounding beats are very 80s first-wave dark-wave, though things veer a little more towards math-rock towards the end as Noah Leger cuts loose on the drums in the centre of the stage flanked by Jonathan Van Herik’s Midnight Oil-esque vocals.  Set closer Mirrored is so ferocious, my chest cavity feels like it’s going to explode.  An epic show already, and we haven’t even hit either of the Co-Headliners yet!

Facs Set List

  1. Skylarking
  2. Anti-Body
  3. Strawberry Cough
  4. Constellation
  5. Teenage Hive
  6. Total History
  7. Mirrored

The first-wave dark-wave baton is seamlessly picked up by Calgarian 4-piece Preoccupations, starting with the duelling twin vocals of Bunker Buster before exploding into the incredible Silhouettes, already an absolute anthem in alternative circles.  Bloc Party meets Echo And The Bunnymen as vocalist/bassist Matt Flegel threads a bassline that manages to overpower the screeching angular guitar riffs and sets off the first of many moshpits tonight.  It’s frantic, breathless, and it’s another reminder as to why some songs have to be heard live to fully appreciate.  

The sound becomes distinctly more Flock Of Seagulls-y on Zodiac, before picking back up again to such a pace that one guy climbs on the step at the front of the stage to see who’ll catch him when he jumps.  The answer: nobody.  Everyone else kinda backs away.  One thing I don’t miss is having random inebriated people jumping into my face.  He gets the point and hops back down.  He rejoins the pogo-ing crowd undeterred as the hour-long set closes with a bang in the form of March Of Progress.

Preoccupations Set List

  1. Bunker Buster
  2. Silhouettes
  3. Rico
  4. Zodiac
  5. Memory
  6. Select Your Drone
  7. Dom
  8. Antidote
  9. Continental Shelf
  10. March of Progress

Whilst Preoccupations can do moody and sultry, there’s absolutely nothing moody or sultry about Toronto’s Metz.  Guitarist/vocalist Alex Edkins is screaming right off the bat in the form of Pulse, opener from their 4th and most recent full-length Atlas Vending, and basically doesn’t let up throughout their hour-long set.  The crowd ignites immediately, and heaves forward so quickly I get thrown forward onto the stage, more-or-less at Alex’s feet.  Crowd-surfer guy gets his wish too, as he and a few others take to the skies pretty quickly too.  Prior to No Ceiling, Alex encourages all to dance, as if they needed any encouragement!

Following a wistful moment of reminiscence about their first show in Montreal 10 years ago at Barfly, the intensity level goes up another notch on the anthemic Wet Blanket, as the circle pit throbs and Alex capo’s his guitar with his can of Moosehead – do you get more quintessentially Canadian than that?!  The set is high-octane throughout, and by the time things wrap up in the form of Get Off and A Boat To Drown In, its clear that every ounce of crowd energy has been spent.  An epic way to spend a grizzly Monday night, and a tangible reminder of the strength of Canada’s alternative scene as 2021 draws to a close.

Metz Set List

  1. Pulse
  2. Blind Youth Industrial Park
  3. The Mirror
  4. No Ceiling
  5. Hail Taxi
  6. The Swimmer
  7. Wet Blanket
  8. Framed by the Comet’s Tail
  9. Mess of Wires
  10. Sugar Pill
  11. Headache
  12. Get Off
  13. A Boat to Drown In

Review – Simon Williams

Photos – Steve Gerrard

Share this :

Submit a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.