Review: The Manic Magic of Montaigne
There was a time, very recently, when the most likely person to know the name Montaigne was a philosophy major. Not so any more. These days many recognize it as the sobriquet of the singer-songwriter Jessica Cerro, and with good reason.
With the release of her sophomore album Complex, Montaigne has continued developing her unique style of art-pop, earning a strong fan base and critical praise. Although she could still be considered a hidden gem in terms of listeners, Montaigne is quickly on her way up in the world, and her incredibly dynamic stage presence will only help the ascent.
The Complex tour is currently in full swing, with Montaigne playing Brisbane’s The Zoo on Saturday night. The show opened with the soulful strains of singer-songwriter Stevie Jean, before amping up the energy with the frenetic hip-hop of Miss Blanks. The support acts were two very different sounds, but the eccentricity seemed appropriate as it reflected Montaigne‘s own eclectic style. Both acts performed competently, setting the scene nicely for the main show.
As the venue crowded to the edges, Montaigne finally took the stage kicking off the set with the new single ‘CHANGE’. The songs from Complex were front and center, and they translated fantastically to a live setting. Hits like ‘READY’, ‘For Your Love’ and ‘Love Might Be Found’ were fast, catchy, and easy to sing along to. Montaigne‘s vocal competency was really on display; despite a comment to the crowd that her voice was a little off that night, the evidence seemed to say otherwise, with each song delivered with perfect pitch and impressive force. This, combined with a natural energy and charisma, made for a commanding performance.
Things took a more emotional turn with the new single ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ and old favorite ‘Consolation Prize‘. Both speak to the fallout of relationships turned sour, and were performed with a level of genuine emotion rare to encounter in a performer. The stripped back acoustic approach to ‘Consolation Prize’ was particularly good.
There was no way of leaving a show like that without an encore, and this was a particularly fun performance. The song was ‘Fantastic Wreck’ from Montaigne‘s 2014 EP, a gesture long term fans were sure to appreciate. The obvious highlight was the drummer performing the cymbal crashes in the song by literally throwing his cymbals from a distance into his drum kit, and hurling a maraca into the audience. What a way to round out a show.
Montaigne is an international frontwoman in the making, with the voice of an angel and moves like Jagger. Make sure to check out the rest of her tour. You can find tickets here.