Liam Thomson braved staying up late on a work night to catch Montaigne, Bec Sandridge and Teischa grace the Jack Rabbit Slims stage for a show to remember.
Jack Rabbit Slims was already filling out by the time I arrived, just after enchanting opening artist Teischa started warming up the intimate Pulp Fiction-inspired venue with her soulful harmonies. Her take on blues had a hint of rock and electronica and she emanated a classy, vintage style that hooked the early punters. Teischa was the perfect choice to open the show as a large crowd had assembled by the time she wound up her set and were visibly eager for more.
After a quick drinks break, the next support act took to the stage. From my weak vantage point, tucked away to a corner of the stage close to the bar, I initially thought David Bowie had returned from the grave. Instead, it turned out to be the pleasant surprise of the night, Bec Sandridge, a Sydney folk singer who has made the recent jump into what her Facebook profile dubs as ‘spaghetti disco pop’. Jack Rabbit Slims has always had a retro feel to it but hearing Bec’s frenetic, synth fuelled ballads made me feel like I had stepped back to 1986. I’m not usually a dancer but her tunes were infectious and contained enough poppy hooks to make me want to get on the floor and bust a move. I went from “holy shit wow” moments to wanting to do the worm over the course of her set. I joked with a friend that Bec had discovered 80’s synth-grunge but she personified raw energy on the brink of explosion and was catchy as fuck.
About half an hour later, punters had clambered as close to the stage barriers as possible to catch the lady of the hour, Montaigne. She emerged clad in a velvet red cloak like royalty and greeted her fans personally, reaching out across the barrier to shake hands. Her opening to the set simmered and snapped as she stalked the stage; you could feel that Montaigne was just warming up before unleashing her dynamic brand of awesome onto the crowd. It was clear that the audience consisted of a very dedicated fan-base as they hung on every lyric and swayed to every harmony Montaigne delivered. Glorious Heights worked the crowd into a frenzy as she belted out the title track from her album. In The Dark saw her enact the lyrics themselves as she dropped to the stage and began ‘digging’ the stage. Her presence complemented her powerful vocals which were tinged with elements of Florence Welch but with a unique twist I can’t quite put my finger on. Montaigne ended her set with Because I Love You, the namesake of her tour that filled the venue with an ecstatic level of energy and had punters screaming for more. Montaigne delivered once again, with 4 encore songs, the last of which she admittedly had no plan to play and had not practiced with her band in a while. Still, the lullaby, as she coined it, enraptured the crowd who had refused to leave unless the venue lights went up. It is clear that Montaigne herself was awestruck by the crowd’s devotion and in turn gave a performance worth every minute.