Gigs Reviews

Review: The Ocean Party, Methyl Ethel and Verge Collection @The Bird

Words By: Drew Krapljanov

Time check. 8:35pm. What time do Verge Collection play? 9:00pm. Crap. I sprint down to Taka on Barrack with my dearest friend, order a take away Agedashi Tofu and agedashi back to the Bird.

Time check. 8:53pm. Since I can’t eat in the Bird, this may be a struggle. I go behind the Bird, sit on the boot of my car and shovel as much as I can fit on a pair of chopsticks. As this wasn’t enough of a struggle, three guys looking pretty intimidating start making their way towards me. One of the guys proceeds to urinate on the shipping container 2 metres away from me, and one of the other guys asks if he can have some of my food. I sheepishly say ‘No.’ and then I walk off, shovel the rest of the food into my mouth and proceed into the Bird.

Time check. 8:59pm. Alright, time for Verge Collection.

Boom, the set begins with the wonderfully energetic banger ‘Feel Bad Songs’. The song blitzes through it’s short run time like you suddenly becoming aware of the decrepit 1am moment in a house party. Following the delightful ruckus was the Go-Between tinged Class of 09’, an infectiously catchy jangle-pop tune executed with a wry smile, The set itself was versatile and consistently engaging through out moving from Jangle Pop of Class of 09’ to the Kurt Vile Alt-Folk of ‘Lying to Myself’. What made the band excel was the chemistry between members, the intelligent, subtle lyrics and the simplistic and concise songwriting.

After telling the story of my night so far to a group of friends, I walked into the crowded sauna that had become the Bird for Methyl Ethyl’s set. The ‘gaze’ was strong right from the get-go as they opened with an incredible extended introduction to ‘Shadowboxing’. Swells of effected guitar swooned through the mist on stage, backed behind subtle bass grooves and driving, simplistic drum grooves. For a three piece, they complemented each other nicely and tastefully as what each member brought to the table strengthened their well-arranged, ambitious Dream Pop songs. Another highlight of the set was Prince-estc Obsurca, that stuttered along with a driving groove and a passionate vocal performance.

‘Pretty good set.’ I thought to myself, walking into the cool Friday night air in the garden behind the Bird. A friend started talking to me about how supposedly Flemish only exists due to the creation of the Printing Press when the Ocean Party started.

The fiery six-piece band opened with an excellently paced and structured Jangle Pop song that had the colourful dense layers of an Echo and the Bunnymen song. The Ocean Party moved comfortably and fluently through a variety of genres with the New Wave Surf Rock stylings of Men at Work to the quirky Australiana of the Go-Betweens. The set constantly kept you on your toes with members taking turns singing the lead vocals of a song, adding a refreshing element to the band dynamic. The sheer amount of members in the Ocean Party was an interesting contrast to Methyl Ethyl’s set. With more instrumentation at their disposal, the Ocean Party were able to litter their songs with beautiful and intricate guitar and keyboard embellishments that surprisingly didn’t feel cumbersome. Funnily enough, the Ocean Party felt like stylistic partners to Verge Collection, delivering an eclectic, energetic set executed with a bite of cynicism and a hidden intelligence for those who can look close enough.