GIG REVIEW: METHYL ETHEL | Melbourne | 20.6.19

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Perth art-rock band and one of Australia's finest, Methyl Ethel, brought their enthralling live show to Melbourne's Forum Theatre. The tour comes after playing a series of shows overseas, including in the UK, Europe and the US.

First up for the night was Montreal-based artist Ada Lea, who ensured that things were off to a magical start. It's hard to be the opening act on a rainy evening where people are reluctant to kick off their night early, but those who braved the cold were treated to a spellbinding performance by an artist on the rise. She played material off of her forthcoming debut album what we say in private, including the magnetic and beautifully chaotic single 'mercury'. Ada Lea is certainly one to watch and her set provided a memorable moment in an evening full of highlights.

Following Ada Lea was the high-powered sounds of Oklahoma band BRONCHO. Leaving no room for any unneeded chatter between songs, they played non-stop with very quick transitions between songs. This meant that they truly devoured each minute they had on-stage. They opened with the shadowy 'Weekend' from their 2018 album Bad Behavior, pulling the audience in from the very moment they stepped onto the stage. Without blinking they moved into the all-consuming 'Boys Got to Go', which is also from the album. As their set progressed, they treated fans to a thrilling performance. Without murmuring a word, BRONCHO wrapped things up, departing in the most rock 'n' roll way possible.

Methyl Ethel appeared on-stage backed by ethereal synths, which set the mood for their highly anticipated entrance. The initial part of their performance included new material such as 'Trip The Mains', 'Hip Horror' and 'All The Elements'. Webb put on a show, moving across the stage and jumping on the amp to perform a series of moves. Along with being the creative visionary that he is, he's also a master of pulling the audience in without murmuring any unnecessary banter, communicating solely through the art of performance.

Webb's vocals transcend to another level in a live setting, sounding even better than they do on recordings — which isn't an easy task. He's able to take his notes high, whilst also keeping a dreamlike tone with ease. Even in between moving across the stage, switching instrumentals or conducting some serious music wizardry on-stage, his vocals remain perfect.

Towards the middle of their set, they performed the ever-so-buoyant 'Real Tight', which provided yet another fine vocal performance by Webb, as well as an opportunity for fans to unleash a sea of grooves. After thanking supporting acts Ada Lea and BRONCHO, and an extended intro of the track, they moved into the eerie yet captivating sounds of 'Post-Blue', with the power of their performance leaving the crowd in chills.

Much to the band's credit, there was no designated encore, which they can be commended for. However, in a way, the transition from 'Ruiner' to 'Scream Whole' to then 'Ubu' felt like an encore — with the crowd clapping throughout all three tracks. It's hard to go past 'Scream Whole', which becomes something otherworldly live — which is a credit to Webb and the band, given the theatrical nature of the track. They ended the show with 'Drink Wine', and though everyone was desperate for more, Methyl Ethel gave the crowd everything they had and so much more.

Not only does Methyl Ethel put on exception live show, but they also provide fans with an emotional experience that's truly unforgettable.

Written by Amy Smolcic (@amysmolcic)
Photos by Kristy Smolcic (Folio)