It appears Methyl Ethel are growing up and leaving the nest; Off the back of the success of last years Oh Inhuman Spectacle and the anticipation of their newest album, Everything is Forgotten, they have a lot going their way. Before embarking on their first large scale international tour, they came to say goodbye. Playing a sell out gig for their hometown crowd, Methyl Ethel and friends graced the courtyard of the Fremantle Arts Centre last Saturday night.
Segue Safari played an early set to kick it off for us. The lads played some sweet indie pop for those that had arrived early and had their small crowd slowly swaying along.
Methyl Ethel made their presence known with the dark rumbles of ‘Shadowboxing’, with singer Jake Webb’s wavering falsetto notes gracing the air. After track one we were informed that Webb was suffering through a bad bout of laryngitis to be there that evening. The gravity of this feat was not lost on the Fremantle crowd. While not in their usual fine form, punters were undeterred and tracks new and old were met with enthusiasm.
As soon as the opening jangles of ‘Rogues’ was audible, the seated crowd rose to their feet in a wave and made their way forward to the stage to lap it up. Old favourites from Oh Inhumane Spectacle played like a long sleepy drone and the darkened courtyard proved the perfect place to share their lush dream pop. The night felt less like a traditional gig and more like a small intimate gathering of nocturnal minds. Other oldies included ‘Ideé Fixe’, ‘Obscura’ and album favourite ‘Twilight Driving’ with its trademark saxophone solo, which really brought life to the crowd.
Mingled into the set were the decidedly more upbeat sounds of material from their soon to be released new album. The bright sounds of ‘No. 28’ and the toe-tapping beat of new single ‘Ubu’ were an enjoyable change of pace. Both songs represent a bit of a deviation from Methyl Ethel’s usual hazy styling, but both maintained the band’s signature eccentric flair.
The set was short and sweet with no encore and no massive fanfare. Despite their whirlwind year the boys seem humble. The crowd gifted them a warm applause for a challenging performance delivered with heart. Hopefully, in better health, these boys will fly off and find new audiences who have as much love and appreciation for them as they have here at home.