Prodigious art-rockers Methyl Ethel, hailing from Perth, rose to indie stardom after their 2017 anthem Ubu hit number 4 on Triple J’s Hottest 100, and their loving cult fanbase has continued to grow ever since – evidenced by their hyped gig at the Forum in Melbourne on the 20th of June which superbly demonstrated their baffling eclectic nature.
On that chilly winter’s night, the crowd stood waiting in the blue-lit auditorium of the famous Melbourne venue, excitedly waiting for the band to appear. Soon, the tense, soaring electro surge rose to breaking point as the five-piece band headed on stage, with lead singer and guitarist Jake Webb fingering out the first expectant chords before the full group burst into crashing explosions of sound that coincided with fulminating illuminations from the lighting rig.
A mix of songs from their three albums ensued, with many of them, especially tracks like Hip Horror and Trip the Mains from recent album Triage, banging harder than the studio versions could muster. Fan favourite Twilight Driving garnered one of the biggest singalongs of the night, with many fans in the front screaming their lungs out to its epic chorus.
Webb was a perplexing sight to behold on stage and rarely left a dull moment. His raucous crooning was accompanied by varying expressive gestures along with the occasional bulging wide eye and wobbling, contorted mouth. He would kick his leg into the air at the crash of a cymbal and jump on top of his own amplifier, coincidentally the only thing on stage that was raised higher than the floor itself.
Methyl Ethel’s show overall was quite the visual one. Aside from Webb’s antics on stage, the band were accompanied by a large screen that covered the entire back of the stage where swirling colour palettes were projected –think bright, hot pinks and radiant blues. Moving images of rippling water in a river and vibrantly red hummingbirds were also displayed to compliment their paired songs.
Arguably their two biggest tracks Ubu and Scream Whole – the lead single from this year’s album – drew the night to a close. After the crescendo of Scream Whole, it tailed off into a steady drum beat that fluidly led into the memorable bass line of Ubu, culminating in one gigantic chant from fans calling back the chorus ‘Why’d you have to go and cut your hair, why’d you cut you hair?’ on repeat.
The show came to a strange end, however, as the band left without an encore, but made the mistake of leaving a synth buzzing on. Fans called out for more, but Jake Webb hastily came back on stage to switch the sound and awkwardly waved us off, mouthing ‘That’s it’. A shame, as I am sure the audience that night at the Forum would have a killed for just one more song from Methyl Ethel.