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METHYL ETHEL @ European Foods Warehouse gets 8/10


Methyl Ethel @ European Foods Warehouse
w/ Ash Baroque & Les fleurs d’ombre
Friday, February 25, 2022

8/10

Just a week after releasing their excellent fourth album Are You Haunted?, Perth alt-pop maestro Jake Webb and his collective, AKA Methyl Ethel, took to the stage for Perth Festival 2022.

For many fans it may have been the first time they had experienced the repurposed European Foods Warehouse in Northbridge as a live venue. That was, of course, unless they happened to be there the night before. With the original event selling out, coupled with capacity restrictions, the show was delivered over two nights, with half the ticket holders attending the show on the Thursday night previous.

Upon entering the venue the most noticeable thing was the sheer size of the space. The unorthodox layout, with a stage in the centre of the area had its pros and cons, but ultimately it did feel like a different kind of experience than your usual gig, as is fitting for a Perth Festival event.

Ash Baroque & Les fleurs d’ombre

Opening the night, and using the scope of the space well were Ash Baroque & Les fleurs d’ombre. Armed with lavish costumes, a cheeky demeanour, big vocals and moves to match, the audience were kept on their toes as the spotlight swung to new performance locations throughout the warehouse. It wasn’t your usual ‘support act,’ but was warmly received for its imaginative concept, dazzling visuals, confident execution and downright weirdness.

Methyl Ethel

Other than the night before, it was Methyl Ethel‘s first live outing in some time. The line-up, not unexpectedly had also been given a makeover, featuring two drummers, two synthesisers and the bass. Each band member was adorned with striking white overalls, while Jake Webb himself worked the centre of the stage equipped with just a microphone and of course, a world-class selection of tracks that had recently been bolstered with the addition of the new album.

The band kicked off the set performing Are You Haunted? from the beginning, with the piano-led Ghosting leading into the boppier recent single Proof (on this occasion unfortunately not ft. Stella Donnelly, whose contribution came via backing track). Something to Talk About got heads nodding, while Neon Cheap, Kids on Holiday and Matters were instantly danceable.

Methyl Ethel

The panoramic stage layout offered different sonic and visual experiences depending on where you stood, and being able to circle the stage to get a fresh perspective enlivened the occasion. While the sound was clear it really could have been a bit louder. As refreshing as it was to hear music that wasn’t built around the guitar, the rare times it was used showed it could have enhanced the live sound more. One thing that was consistently impressive throughout was Webb’s voice, which soared above the rest of the sounds and carried the setlist forward.

Methyl Ethel

With such a quality album so fresh in people’s minds, there wasn’t the usual vibe you got at this stage of the show where fans start itching for the ‘hits’ or the ‘old stuff.’ Fortunately, Methyl Ethel’s discography now feels like an embarrassment of riches, making it was hard to put a foot wrong regardless. Those from 2019’s Triage, namely Scream Whole and Real Tight shone brightest of all, with the band and the dance floor hitting their peak on the irresistible mega-hit, Ubu.

Methyl Ethel

Much like Methyl Ethel themselves, the stage set-up, support act and venue for this show were fittingly left of centre. For those fortunate enough to see this world-class act debuting their new album it was a memorable night – but whether it be because of the modest volume or the swag of hits they didn’t have time to play, you still left wanting more.

BRAYDEN EDWARDS

Photos by Linda Dunjey

 

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