Words by Jacob Burkett
Photos by Emily Mathison
Broadly speaking, Saturday night at the Enmore Theatre was one of indie rock. Specifically speaking it was an evening of dance, funk, ballads, and fuzz with hints of disco. The three acts starting with Ada Lee from Montreal, Broncho hailing out of Oklahoma and Perth’s Methyl Ethel, each brought a flavour that was distinct enough to keep the audience on their toes. The variety was a refreshing take compared to some bills where supports can be a little too interchangeable.
It was the Canadian act who kicked us off. Donning a purple saturn one piece similar to the late Prince’s famous go-to, Ada Lee stood front and centre with a guitar in hand accompanied by the lone support of backing keys. Looking like they’d stepped out of a Wes Anderson set, the duo harmonised to swoony ballads that built and dipped and climaxed and oozed 70’s prom vibes. Eager, early fans were glued to the front rails hang on every word. A cute, good vibes opener that left you wanting a little more. Enter Broncho.
The garage-rock, shambly three-piece paced through a 40minute set that hit hard and instantly. Usually a four piece, this big fan was worried that down a rhythm guitarist the sound may seem a little empty. Only a few chords in it was apparent that that wouldn’t be the case. Frontman Ryan Lindsey didn’t miss a beat as his feedback heavy, fuzzy but controlled guitarwork kept the pace and rhythm like an orchestra would. True to fashion, you could barely make a word out as his lyrics or rather noises, bounced off the drum and bass to create feet stomping addictive beats – so who really gives an f about pronunciation.
Opening with ‘Sandman’ brought contagious energy to the crowd which didn’t let up until the set closed. The single features a bass and guitar hook that I’m sure any music fan could warm up to. Latest album, Bad Behaviour made up the majority of the setlist, but classics including ‘Class Historian’ and ‘Senora Borealis’ were weaved in to bring about limb-shakin’ which at this point had yet to feature.
To a rapturous applause then entered Methyl Ethel. Hitting the halfway point of a seven leg national tour, frontman Jake Webb and his touring band were in fine rhythm. Opening with ‘Trip The Mains’ sparked a frenzy of dance. The Michael Jackson-esque smooth synthy track was the perfect mood-setter for a fun filled, energetic set. New album, Triage is a dancey one at that compared to earlier releases. Like the set before them, there was no need to mix up the pace or barely time to take a breath between songs. The crowd were ready to commit – start to finish!
‘Twilight Driving’ off 2015 album Oh Inhuman Spectacle hit early in the set and again brought the energy up a notch as a young crowd pushed closer and closer with each chorus drop. New tracks ‘What about the 37’ and ‘Ruiner’ were highlights and got to show off the groups skills with extended jams. The psych-rock side of the band shone through in these moments and no one was phased if these jams went on longer than the studio versions.
‘Ubu’ was another instant crowd pleaser which again turned up the dial of crowd involvement and energy. Coming in at #4 in the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2017, the catchy jam was the biggest singalong of the night.
You can be in awe watching Methyl Ethel. Webb has done an amazing job transitioning these tracks from the studio to the stage. Accompanied by close friends, the fun they’re having on stage is more than contagious. With Adelaide and two sold out Brisbane shows to come before heading off to the US, Triage is sure to get the international and live acclaim it deserves.