Heading out on a national tour is always a big deal for bands, irrespective of whether it’s their first or thousandth. Selling out said tours is probably always the goal. Touring in support of their third album, Methyl Ethel not only managed to sell out their Enmore Theatre show in Sydney, but sold out the seven date tour entirely, while playing some of the nation’s bigger venues.
Opening the night was Canadian act Ada Lea. Coming into the night, I had no idea who they were or what they sounded like. Having taken thirty minutes to find a parking spot in the seemingly packed and very busy surrounding streets of Enmore and Newtown, I only caught the closing notes of Ada Lea’s set. Having Spotified her since, she sounds a little like a cross between Emma Louise and Sharon Van Etten. Give her a listen.
Up next were Oklahoma act Broncho. Once more, I didn’t know them at all coming into their set, but I was pretty impressed with what they were doing. With a sound bordering on The Vaccines, Circa Waves, Smith Westerns and The Drums, they were very pleasant on the novice ear. With four albums under their belt already, you can see why Methyl Ethel hand selected Broncho as main support for the night.
Coming on stage just before 10pm, Methyl Ethel entered under dimmed lights to a ghostly and atmospheric backing soundtrack. This backing track set the tone for the earlier part of the night, as the first couple of tracks were slowly received by the crowd, before the first major applause of the night came in the form of “Trip The Mains”. The 80’s synth and groove definitely hit a sweet spot for the crowd, as it became increasingly obvious that “Trip The Mains” was a track that never received the praise it should have got.
An early highlight came from “Hip Horror” as it’s closing minute left an infectious beat and dance vibe floating throughout the venue. Sitting above the clouds and two rows from the back, I couldn’t get a sense of what it was like downstairs, but it turns out the back three rows of the venue is the place to be if you want to talk excessively loud about how many beers you had last night and not listen to the band you’ve paid good money to see. Go figure.
Making the show an all ages set allowed the crowd to be filled with a variety of ages outside of the regular early to mid twenties group. Plenty of Mums and Dads were in tow to help their kids enjoy what could very well have been their first show. It threw me back to my first Australian show at the venue (The Cat Empire, 2008). While my parents didn’t take me to that show, I’ve always had time for folks that chaperone their kids and have a good time at the same time.
With very little chat from the band to the crowd, the band powered through their set, and before you knew it, the gig was coming to a close. Playing in excess of sixteen tracks, it was evident that the brains behind the Perth band, Jake Webb, is some kind of musical genius. From their earliest hit “Twilight Driving” (which was delivered down beat, but great all the same), to their biggest hit in “Ubu” (what an absolute scene that was; Webb definitely can write a hook), Methyl Ethel pleased just about everyone in the venue with an evenly paced set filled with fan favourites and deeper cuts.
Other peaks of the set came via “Real Tight”, the cataclysmic and hypnotic masterpiece “Scream Whole” (seriously, that last minute was the best piece of music of 2018), and closer “Drink Wine”. Not having an encore was a good touch, as I genuinely thought they’d peaked and didn’t have anything else to offer.
With only a few shows left on the tour, Methyl Ethel are bound to continually please their fans around the country. If you’ve got a ticket, consider yourself very lucky.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Methyl Ethel complete their tour at the following venues:
The Gov, Adelaide – Thursday 27th June
The Triffid, Brisbane – Friday 28th June
The Triffid, Brisbane – Saturday 29th June
Header Image by Danny Hanssen