If you missed the sibling feedback nukes of METZ and Roomrunner that detonated for two hours through the narrow back room of Williamsburg’s Cameo Gallery last night, congratulations: You still have your hearing and can enjoy the rest of this festival. If you were one of the brave people there without earplugs, well, good game, y’all. Look forward to reading about the rest of the Marathon buzz online while Googling to see if “New York Ear Bank” is a real thing (just checked—it’s not).
But it was totally worth it, right? Wedged between the comparatively chill garage pop ditty-bop of Toronto’s Moon King (who just put out a new EP and are playing loads more shows this week) and the comparatively shushed synth cruise of local nostalgia-nauts Chrome Canyon,
Roomrunner and METZ’s dual drillbit-to-the-brain assault was the loud rock event of CMJ night one.
The Baltimore basement vets of Roomrunner got the feedback loop started with some thrusting grunge cuts from their Super Vague EP along with last year’s self-titled debut, manhandling perverted surf riffs into tsunamis of violent fuzz. Denny Bowen—who’s moved from the drum kit to main axe after his old Double Dagger outfit broke up last year—had no delusions about the strength of his crew’s primal missives. “Go ahead and turn the vocals down to a medium man cave,” he said to the sound guy before his voice was forever lost (probably for the better) to the unyielding tides of fuzz.
Toronto trio METZ soon followed, who hastily fracked that man cave and desecrated its ruins. In its 40-or-so minutes on stage, METZ played close to its entire (gnarly) new album, only foregoing some of the buzz-barf filler for one final, extended trip into the noise void. And that’s where they really killed it. Screamer/guitarist Alex Edkins hopped flamingo-style onto Hayden Menzies’s kick drum, heathen screamed into mic and amp alike and, in a spot exorcism with the ghost of Kurt Cobain, slashed guitar-first across the stage and almost clashed with bassist Chris Slorach in the midst of his own bunnyhopping, head-banging vigil. METZ must’ve shooed the spirit away—and with it the nearest third of the Cameo Gallery crowd, now too deaf, too wrecked or just too satisfied to stick around for Chrome Canyon’s midnight cruise.
Photos by Violeta Alvarez