Montaigne @ The Milk Factory, 23rd April

As much of Brisbane’s live music scene taking place in Fortitude Valley, The Milk Factory in Southbank offers an alternative for punters looking for a cheap and sociable music experience. On this particular occasion, I’m one of them, arriving at the venue early in anticipation for rising star Montaigne, who begins her Life of Montaigne EP tour here tonight. Getting to grips with the venue’s tiny music room early on, it’s clear that on most nights the restaurant and bar play second fiddle to intimate live music.

Truth be told, intimate is very much the word of the night as support act Banff opens proceedings. While the on-stage arrangement suggests a four piece band, Banff is very much the solo project of singer-songwriter Benjamin Forbes, whose calm and casual demeanour flows into his music. There’s a light and dreamy sensibility to his tracks, which accompanies a strong folk vibe and produces a sound akin to that of Boy And Bear or The War On Drugs. Banff‘s is only a short set but one that sets a positive tone for the rest of the night and highlights his undoubted potential.

Soon after the woman of the moment steps on stage and it doesn’t take long to see why Montaigne is earning rave reviews. The former Triple J Unearthed High finalist shows an innate passion in her music, hitting plenty of powerful notes and combining them with a peculiar stage presence. While the stage she occupies allows little room to move, when not playing guitar she throws her arms in all directions enchantingly, almost like of Bjork or St. Vincent. In fact, the Bjork influence seems clear, as she produces a scarily accurate rendition of her song Joga, before racing into another cover, this time of Sia’s hit Chandelier.

As her set nears its conclusion, the two major tracks up Montaigne’s sleeve get a run as fans are still flocking in, trying to forge hand stamps just to attend. I’m A Fantastic Wreck has the crowd chanting along to the final line of the song, while ending with, funnily enough, I Am Not An End to a chorus of wild cheers.

As the crowd files out of the venue and into the bar, Montaigne signs autographs and gets photos with some overjoyed fans. It becomes obvious quickly that people of many ages are in attendance, showing that the talent of the dynamic Sydneysider is far-reaching. Watch this space: Montaigne is one to look out for.

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