Indie rock four piece BRONCHO had made the long journey from Oklahoma to support Methyl Ethel and to bring their latest album Bad Behaviour to our shores for the first time.
And it seems that trip has taken its toll.
The entire BRONCHO set was off.
The band played a by the numbers gig, with the sole objective appearing to be to get from one end of the song list to the other with as little pain as possible.Guitarist Ben appeared to be absent on the night, as the band was playing as a three piece. A member down and the rest looking fairly exhausted, I can only assume this final show was just one too many for this tour.
A cap covered vocalist Ryan’s face for the entire show, his long coat and the sweaty white shirt beneath giving him the look of an All American drifter. His vocals weren’t much prettier, as he struggled to articulate for most of the set. Even songs I knew well, such as ‘Class Historian’, were difficult to keep track of vocally.
My best comparison is those moments where you are singing in the car, and can’t recall the actual lyric, so, you just sing something that sounds similar. A mumbled replacement.
A brief “Thank you.” from Ryan at the end was all the band spoke.
I can’t imagine this was BRONCHO at anywhere near full strength, considering they were literally a man down.
I will chalk this up to one bad show. One BRONCHO and I can both agree to forget.
Methyl Ethel started from the beginning, literally.
In pitch black, the band opened with ‘H1 N1 A’ from their original EP, Teeth, all the way from 2014. As the song picked up, a single spot light shown down on frontman Jake, dressed in black. His exaggerated dancing and attire gave him the appearance of an interpretative dancer.
The smoke machines picked up and the strobe lights kicked in as we moved onto the new album Triage. Jake had taken up his guitar and we were careening into ‘Trip the Mains’. The venue went dark again, as an aqua light lit up the stage floor. The atmospheric journey through Triage continued as Jake moved into a solo performance version of ‘Hip Horror’. The variations continued with ‘All the Elements’, which featured a long, haunting outro.
The extended outro would feature a couple more time throughout the set, notably during ‘What about the 37°?’. Unfortunately, this time it was simply too long. The immersion started to break as I noticed the crowd around me get continually restless as the outro continued. And continued.
After years of being able to hit ‘Skip Credits’ on Netflix, our collective attention span can only handle so many slow burn song exits.
Methyl Ethel came so close to the perfect finish though. It was absolute peak Triage with ‘Post-Blue’, and then strobes roared back to life during ‘Ruiner’.
The energy continued to rise as the band moved into the lead single off the album, ‘Scream Whole’. As soon as those opening keyboard bars started, the crowd roared with excitement. Anyone keeping track knew there was still one key song we hadn’t heard yet, and when the band asked us to sing along for the next track, we knew it was time for ‘Ubu’.
It was the perfect song to end on. The crowd was yelling ‘Why’d you cut your hair?!”, the band was the loudest they had been all night, and the lights were exploding across the stage.
I was happy for it all to end there, but fans of Everything Is Forgotten were in for treat with the band ending on ‘Drink Wine’.
The band said goodnight as Jake literally sung himself off stage.