LIVE REVIEW: METHEL ETHEL / PISSEDCOLAS / DOCTOPUS
Sunday 20 July 2014 at the Bird
First published by the Space Ship News 23 July 2014
Marked eloquently as ‘Fabian Tells A Joke’ on the PISSEDCOLAS’ setlist, DOCTOPUS’ breakneck album release tour was summed up smoothly on its last night by lead Fabian Rojas, recounting a conversation with owner of Da-Da’s records: “I said, ‘They’re releasing the album five times,’ and he said, ‘You can’t do that!’ ‘Well,’ I said, ‘They’re Doctopus, they can do it. They’re doing it.’”
As METHYL ETHEL, the skinniest band bearing even skinnier jeans, set up on stage to start off the night there was an air of fatigue around the Bird, with many among the crowd having attended several shows over Doctopus’ five day run. Doctopus themselves kept a low profile, dragging around the merch table with copies of their new album Wobbegong and last issue Buddies or between friends as the Bird swiftly filled for a last chance at the launch.
Methyl Ethel, fronted by songwriter Jake Webb and a host of effects, drove straight into their set with a pummelling bass line picked delicately by their tall, skinny-hipped bassist, his instrument held high beneath his flowing curls and crotch bulging in impossibly tight jeans. Webb’s guitar spat ethereal chittering like sprites or birds, clear echoing vocals and a space age groove as his Fender bounced reflections off the wall of the Bird, finding themselves well at home in its walls. Stand out ‘Idée Fix’, a husky, aquatic track, showed clearly what Methyl Ethel are capable of, crackling through their set to a well-earned end in ‘Narcissists On TV’, a lacerating, kaleidoscopic piece tearing over the rest of their chilly, subterranean offerings.
Just one of the many incestuous bands surrounding the Perth lo-fi and garage scenes, the Pissedcolas quietly skulked onto stage before starting with a calamity quickly and effortlessly dissolving into their familiar Western drone of red dust, mines and social security. Pissedcolas are a band to take a bullet for, their music winding between a solid crunch, a driving pulse and chainsaw distortion, Rojas’ howls and chants over gutsy rock with teeth bared. Songs like ‘Mind Detergent’ and ‘Glue Gun’ tore through the small venue and tightening audience as the crowd barked ‘Fabian!’ and ‘Play one more!’ at the bashful lead while bassist Meagan Bates and drummer Alex Patching exchanged teasing grins.
Finally Doctopus hauled themselves on stage. Whatever fatigue appeared to drag at them initially was quickly dispelled as they launched into their set, the venue stuffed to the brim as the crowd packed onto the benches ringing the walls for more room. Doctopus looked dishevelled in the indie chic of the Bird, but unfazed ploughed bite-sized tune after tune to the welling audience with a muffled quality, a pulse and a spring with Stephen Bellair’s wail torn over the top as he spasmed over the mic and threw himself about the stage. Guitarist Jeremy Holmes quickly disappeared from view to sit on the stage with his guitar, as the crowd howled ‘Man I Think You’re Cool’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Here’ back at the band. “We’re only going to play two more songs because it’s a Sunday and we live in Perth!” jeered Bellair, before delivering a manic version of ‘Wobbegong’ to finish the night.
‘LIVE REVIEW: Doctopus at the Bird’ by Richard Moore.