Montaigne @ The Triffid

Reaching glorious heights

I have never been sure that Montaigne (real name Jess Cerro) is actually a real person – if you’ve listened to her out-of-this world voice on tape, or seen a video of her incredible live performance, you’d know what I mean. So I was hoping that heading down to her sold out show at The Triffid and seeing her in the flesh would help to assuage my fears, but instead left me with even more questions.

Opening the night was Alex The Astronaut, and her dry wit combined with likeable personality vibed well with the crowd, which was already swelling in numbers, despite being only 8.30pm. Armed with only an acoustic guitar and a grin, she played some of her well known tracks like Rockstar City and Already Home, alongside catchy sing-a-long numbers like Not Cool. Her performance could be described as awkward, but in a Michael Cera kinda way – dad jokes aside, she knew how to turn any nerves into adorable onstage banter.

Sydney band I Know Leopard, (also known as ‘Knowies’ or ‘Leppies’), were up next and their infectious pop tunes got the crowd grooving. The addition of a violin part that rang out over most of their tracks added an extra aural flavour that was a tasty treat in the days of bland pop-rock. Their latest single Let Go was a highlight of their set, and their confidence and delivery appeased any worries I had about them being able to follow through with a stunner of a live show. They oozed the kind of stage presence I would expect from a veteran band, and that kind of professionalism is refreshing.

Finally it was time for the Montaigne to enter the stage, and the crowd had swelled astronomically in size. With hardly room to breathe, I was pressed against the barrier in a way that was sure to leave bruises, (plot twist, it did), but I didn’t care, because I wanted to fully experience Montaigne at her greatest. Opening with What You Mean to Me she bounded from one end of the stage to the other with ample athletic ability. Hardly taking a breath, she swiftly transitioned into Greater Than Me before pausing to greet the crowd.

Unusually dressed in simple black jeans and a cutoff tee, the lack of an in-your-face outfit allowed more room for her ethereal voice to be the star attraction. The crowd were perplexed when she instructed them to sing the two separate parts in the chorus of Lonely, and she showed her other musical abilities when picking up a guitar to play Lie To Myself. She even brought a couple of new songs to the table – Please You, which was a track about wanting to please everyone, and Attention, which she performed solo on the keys (after excusing herself for the nonexistent shitness of her playing).

The last portion of her show was the most bittersweet; her performance was at her most intense, but I knew inside it was due to finish soon. Her powerhouse vocals flipped effortlessly between strong falsetto and strong lows, and final songs In The Dark, Because I Love You and ‘Til It Kills Me saw her throw herself all over the stage with force likely to leave bruises.  However, seasoned punters knew there was one more track left to play – I’m A Fantastic Wreck, and she did not disappoint, leaving hallowing cries of ‘Would you love me?’ in the ears of all.

The answer to that is yes Montaigne, we would love you.

Olivia Shoesmith

Zed Facts

Around 1998 4ZZZ, 4MBS, and Family Radio started broadcasting from the one installation at Mt Coot-tha. Prior to this 4MBS and Family Radio had merely leased land beside 4ZZZ but then Brisbane City Council decided that having three transmission towers and huts in the one place was an eyesore and encouraged the three radio stations to share facilities. This resulted in the three radio stations developing a company called Broadcasting Park to negotiate with the Council. This company consisted of three shares, one owned by each member station.