Live Review: Methyl Ethel w/ Jaala @ Plan B Small Club
Confusing, delightful, flirtatious, and vibrant. Methyl Ethel and supporting band Jaala took a small group of underground punters on a dreamlike voyage at Sydney’s underground venue Plan B Small Club. The crowd was a mix of old and young, hip and non-hip. The strong presence of flannel shirts led many to believe there was a dress code, although this was likely due to the underground and chilled out vibes that the venue and the line-up encouraged.
Jaala is a 4-piece pleasure led by Cosima Jaala, who stands with nonchalance on stage, cooing strange sweet ramblings in her high pitched voice. They opened with Salt Shaker from their 2015 debut album Hard Hold, a slow and bright sonic offering. Matched with retro electric strumming, we found ourselves by the ocean, waves lapping the shore, after a long night of drinking with the sunrise teasing the horizon as Cosima’s voice teases our souls. The set was playful with flirtatious tunes Lowlands and Hard Hold presenting dissonant cruisy asymmetrical beats within surprisingly delicate compositions.
“First tune Shadowboxing was a beautiful uplifting way to send shivers down our spines, and this sense of motivation and excitement continued through the entire set.”
We learnt from Cosima if you follow people with fruit bowls you will find the talent, and humorously pointed out in the crowd the Methyl Ethel team enjoying their fruit preshow. Her awkward banter was incredibly amusing and her unimpeded personality brought that quality that separates Jaala from any another quirky alternative punk band. They signed off the set to go and find the fruit bowl and to do some well-deserved shots.
The audience had begun to fill out and was all well lubricated by the time Methyl Ethel took the stage. They eased us in with a slow long intro, a mix of eclectic underwater bubbles that gave all the riff raff enough time to collect themselves. First tune Shadowboxing was a beautiful uplifting way to send shivers down our spines, and this sense of motivation and excitement continued through the entire set.
They seem to emit an ambience that serves as the base of all their tracks and remains constant throughout the show. Rogues gave us some great vibes, a warm and vibrant reassurance that more is to come. Methyl Ethel is exquisitely talented, and the passion filters through their experimental music, another fresh face that we can expect some big things from. The highlight of the set for me was Obscura, a brightly layered tune that built with a steady beat and sweet lyrics.
“The entrancing harmonics were just pure goodness, some self indulgent intros and solos, but it was perfectly matched the audience’s vibes and we lapped it up.”
A familiar intro gave us Twilight Driving, their biggest hit of their set. The surprise saxophone, oh the saxophone, we were not disappointed with this addition to an already concrete banger. “Well it’s the early morning baby, I said why don’t you hit the snooze”. The song really does remind you of those early mornings when you roll over and try and grasp those last few moments before real life slaps you right in the face.
Methyl Ethel raised the stakes in Sweet Waste, an electronic dreamlike sequence that showed off a multifaceted style – Very professional, no mistakes. The entrancing harmonics were just pure goodness, some self indulgent intros and solos, but it was perfectly matched the audience’s vibes and we lapped it up.
After bringing the tone down with Everything As It Should Be, Methyl Ethel closed with Lagotto Romagnolo. The heroic positive chords and bass threw us, the indulgent outro matched an amazing set and we were left wanting more. Pleasingly enough there was no wanky encore and for this we thank you, cheers Methyl Ethel!