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Live Review: Montaigne – The Zoo, Brisbane 2019

Artists: Montaigne / Stevie Jean / Miss Blanks
Date: November 15th 2019
Venue: The Zoo, Brisbane
Reviewer: Carlie Tanithskye
Photographer: Carlie Tanithskye Photography

I stroll through the chaos of the Valley Mall  , coffee in hand , tired and I’m not going to lie , grumpy (hey , i’m only human) as well on my way to tonight’s venue. Its hotter than Hades inside The Zoo , and I feel the sweat running down my back as I make my way to the front of the stage. On the bill tonight for our listening and viewing pleasure for Complex Album Tour is Aussie pop/art/singer/writer/musician Montaigne supported by Stevie Jean and Miss Blanks. There is already a nice little crowd here , out early to catch the openers and it’s lovely to see.

Stevie Jean , a 20 yo singer/songwriter hailing from Darwin is smiling and she walks out onstage with her guitar. She informs us that she’ll be playing her latest release, EP Blame Game , but in reverse. Being a Darwinian , Stevie makes comment on the pleasant temp in venue tonight compared to living back home. Haha! Opening with Hell In Every Religion , I’m instantly in awe of her powerful vocals. there is a confident swagger about her which is captivating and impressive for someone so young. Her brand of Indie Rock and Soul stylings see my mood drift away , I Like You , Estranged and Mockingbird follow touching on attraction  , exhausting relationships and resentment. Jean weaves an intricate web , drawn in by every guitar pick and vocal inflection , that the audience is happy to be caught in. Closing with December Song , she explains  it’s about having a crush on her best friend but being rejected. ‘You’re in his arms, but you’re thinking of mine’ suggests there’s more to the feelings between them , and it feels like shes calling out the songs subject on her duplicities. Such a powerful set!

I decided to do no research before coming in tonight , so I’ve no idea what to expect when Miss Blanks struts onto the stage. The young rapper hailing from Brisbane pulls no punches , delivering unapologetic lyrics and an attitude that smack you right in the face! “Who’s fucking tonight?” she asks us after Freq U , and praises those who raise their hands for doing much better than Maroochydore. She asks the lighting techs to get rid of the blue and green because it does nothing for her skin tone, and they oblige. Clap Clap Skinny Bitches and This Bitch are highlights as she owns the stage and the audience like the boss that she is. I see Stevie Jean side stage dancing and relishing the moment as we all are. Holy shit that was a ride!

Jess Cerro performing as Montaigne has been steadily making a name for herself in Australia over the last few years. The Sydney songstress won Best Breakthrough Artist in November 2016 at The ARIA Awards, and the 24 -year-old’s debut album, Glorious Heights  , peaked at #4 on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart in 2016, whilst her single Because I Love You hit #25 on Triple J’s Hottest 100 . Her latest release Complex sees her touring all over the country at the moment.

Montaigne walks onstage to to rousing applause , takes a breath and launches straight into Change , and the crowd starts to move. There is an upbeat tempo of a marching band in the drums as she sings about washing away struggles and harnessing her strength to change. Her performance is theatrical and dramatic and she uses much of the stage , never pausing for too long.Oh to have that energy! 

Singles For Your Love , Losing Might be found(Volcano) and The Dying Song are up nextLyrically the themes suggested in the songs are indeed Complex. Exploring body image , narcissism and toxic psychological and violent relationships and feeling powerless to leave. Before Stockholm Syndrome is played Montaigne candidly explains that this song is very personal and close to her, and there’s a lot of bad stuff in it. Adding that she had to change the 3rd verse to protect someone in the public eye. She then goes on to discuss being in a Gaslighting relationship, to ensure that you hold your loved ones close and that she hopes we’re all ok. The lyrics hit hard for anyone especially who has experienced this in their lives , and when Stockholm Syndrome is played , the lovely girl next to me is in tears. 

Because I Love you sees Cerro interacting with crowd and shaking hands with the front row all the while declaring her love “Because I love you” and the fans are overjoyed. Between songs she mentions how before she came here tonight she went to Netherworld and played Galaga (if you know, you know). Closing with her latest single Ready , the crowd sing out their hearts and into her mic and vocally she is stunning moving through her range with what seems like minimal effort. We’re not ready for this to end , and after a very short break Montaigne returns to the stage exclaiming “You’ve twisted my bloody arm!!” to play one more. The audience shout every word to Wreck and as their drummer in dismantling his kit , throws his symbols for effect which we all shout for. The occasion is joyous and the band are all close together laughing through the song. What a stellar end to this show! When I turn around , all I see is smiling faces. Honestly , I’m so glad I came . The stunning talent and performance tonight from 3 amazing women has made me so bloody happy! 

If you get a chance to catch any of the remaining shows on this tour , DEFINITELY DO IT !! 

Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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