Words & Photos by Jack Alexander
Montaigne’s Glorious Heights tour kicked off last Thursday at the Adelaide UniBar, with special guests I Am Leopard and Alex the Astronaut.
The night started off with a set of charming acoustic pop songs from Alex the Astronaut. While comparisons to Courtney Barnett and Alex Lahey are easy to draw, Alex the Astronaut is definitely unique. She mentions quietly between songs that she’s recently returned from getting a degree in physics in America the same way I would talk about having recently gone to the shops to buy some snacks, before launching into a song about realising that “kissing boys wasn’t for me”. It’s a beautiful blend of conversational lyrics that talk about serious topics, while always making you smile. Totally sincere, and never cynical, keep an eye out for Alex in the future.
Triple j ‘14 Unearthed Laneway winners I Know Leopard were next to take to the stage with their nostalgic pop melodies. Lead singer Luke launched into the set with a level of poise and confidence not often seen in smaller pop bands. Sydney drummer Tully Ryan is joining the band on the tour, and laid down a solid platform for bass player/backing vocalist Rosie, violinist/keys player/ backing vocalist Jenny, and guitarist Todd - together producing a dream-like mix. Their new single ‘Let Go’ absolutely shines in a live setting - it’s the kind of song that your body starts moving to before you even decide to dance. Their set left me wondering why there aren’t more violins in pop bands.
Finally then, the woman we all came to see, Montaigne. From the get go, she commanded the attention of the room, like an over enthusiastic choir master leading us in songs of hope beyond our awkward teenage years, and bad relationships, and the marks left on us by life.
Montaigne doesn’t just perform her songs - she embodies them, jumping between states of total chaos with limbs flailing about recklessly, and striking frozen poses reminiscent of a theatrical performer. She takes every possible opportunity to poke fun at herself, and the parts of her life that inspired her songs.
Spending almost half of the show holding the hands of adoring fans, it’s easy to get the sense that Montaigne is there to see us as much as we’re there to see her. She talks to the crowd like a strange, but super cool older sister talking to a younger sibling, reassuring them that everything is going to be ok.
“Every show ends up being like therapy for me”, Jess laughs in between songs. But isn’t a joke, really – it’s therapy for all of us who’ve ever felt weird, or isolated, or confused. “It’s best to stay true to yourself”, Jess tells the crowd. “No matter what – it’s a cliche, but it’s true”.
The first leg of Montaigne’s Glorious Heights tour is running from the 28th of July, to the 12th of August. You can buy tickets here.