Live Review: Montaigne + Bec Sandridge – Fat Controller, Adelaide (23.09.16)

Montaigne has been one of those artists who, in the past, I’ve approached hesitantly. I could never properly believe that this girl was as big as the hype that followed her. I mean, how could she be? The pedestal she’s been put on by fans and critics alike has been an incredible one. Seeing her in full flight as a headliner with a full album of material behind her though, I finally got it.

Performing at Fat Controller in Adelaide over the weekend, Montaigne came through town with Bec Sandridge, who has become one of my favourite boss ladies doing their thing on the Australian scene at the minute. A striking figure to watch on stage, she used her time to introduce herself as a live artist – impassioned, raucous and slightly unhinged when it comes to doling out live music that sticks with you after she’s wrapped things up.

This year has definitely been a breakthrough one for the songwriter and performer and it’s been fascinating to watch her continuously level up and captivate audiences around the country. Her debut album Glorious Heights indicated an interesting, complex and emotionally expressive writer stood proudly behind some strong pop vocal delivery and in all my dealings with Montaigne in the past, that vibe comes through equally as strong. A confident and self-aware artist, Montaigne has a charm about her that is unexpectedly disarming and endearing. As a performer, she turns this up and is quick to have the crowd wrapped around her little finger as they become swept up in the frenetic nature of her live vocals, and the energy of her live band.

As a vocalist, Montaigne has refined for herself a weapon of a voice that I couldn’t fault at all. You can’t teach that type of sound, it’s definitely a talent you’re simply blessed with. She can veer into kooky pop territory Marina and The Diamonds or Kate Nash have also played with but before you’ve become comfortable there, Montaigne takes off and soars, demonstrating one powerful range.

The sound inside Fat Controller has never been the best for these types of gigs, but it didn’t sound too horrible from where I was stood during the headline set; the artists always make do and strive to deliver and for this one, all players on stage definitely came through well. While “Because I Love You” and “Clip My Wings” and of course, “I’m a Fantastic Wreck” have been favourites of mine in the past, this show was a good opportunity to become further acquainted with the rest of Montaigne’s material on a live front.

Prior to this show I’d only been able to catch a bit of her festival set at Splendour (which was entertaining), but it wasn’t enough to completely hook me in at the time. I felt like I was being introduced to this girl I’d spoken with on the phone a few times sporadically over the last few years, an individual so many colleagues and friends had been raving about for the last 12 months, via her music on Friday night. And as a music fan, that’s what I love about these types of gigs – being won over and seeing what everyone else does.

While this sort of music may not be my bag in huge doses normally, can definitely give Montaigne a big tick for the show she’s got under her belt at the moment and can’t wait to see how she continues to thrive as Glorious Heights reaches more audiences and the opportunities continue to roll in.