Montaigne, Miss Blanks, Stevie Jean @ The Croxton

Darwin singer Stevie Jean appears solo with her guitar. The people at the back of the room are instantly drawn to Jean’s vocals and find themselves walking towards the stage. “This is a song called Hell In Every Religion. I actually played it today, in a church,” the singer cheekily states. Her raw voice full of soul impresses the crowd as she powerfully wails through her set. The indie-rock singer ends on a high with December Song. Watching Jean unleash her anger into the track and keep control of her voice is mesmerising.

Hip hop artist Miss Blanks immediately owns the stage as she struts towards the crowd. Songs like Clap Clap, Skinny Bitches and This Bitch are favourites, Blanks dropping bars like, “Even my dentist said I need a crown, bitch. Blanks is a powerhouse and her empowering presence is met with love and respect.

Montaigne is here! Touring her recent art-pop album, Complex, she starts with opening track Change, the sound of rolling drums and chant-like vocals filling The Croxton. The 24-year-old punches her arms in the air, dancing along to the marching percussion. The theatrical energy continues with the title track, the sound of the crowd singing along and the sea of bobbing heads throughout the room, showing everyone’s increased excitement.

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Losing My Mind sees people moving to the heavy electronic synths and the pulsing drums. Before playing Because I Love You, Montaigne shares a personal story about a break-up: “He sucked. I dumped him.” There’s big applause, showing the support and love Montaigne’s fans have for her. The song itself is vibrant and fun, despite being a damning analysis of a bad relationship. As she repeatedly sings “Because I love you” she holds hands with punters in the front row, making sure she doesn’t miss anyone.

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Montaigne sings Consolation Prize beautifully. Unfortunately, some people in the room feel the need to talk through the song, puncturing its delicate intensity. The rest of the room is still, people in the moment and taking it all in. Next, the intense and clanging synths of Stockholm Syndrome heighten the emotion in the room, tears falling down some faces.

Later on in the night, the upbeat pop and political lyrics of Ready encourage the crowd to put their arms in the air, mimicking Montaigne. As an encore, I’m A Fantastic Wreck is performed in a new acoustic form. It’s a great singalong, Montaigne singing “Would you love me?” and the crowd shouting “Yes!” back. Tonight’s show is a clear example of Montaigne’s unique and dynamic vocal range, an out-of-this-world performance leaving people in awe of one of the hottest acts in Australia.

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Photos by: Tim Doug

Written by: Alicia Ogley for The Music

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