Montgomery 16 May Black Bear Lounge.
It is the witching hour in a long narrow über hipster bar where a lot of über hipsters are crowded together to witness the first performance of new artist Montgomery. She has been shrouded in mystery thus far with no pictures of her being circulated and just a six track EP titled ” New Clear War” to her name to let the world know who this ” elusive” artist is. One can’t help but feel that this is another Sia – like gimmick to try draw a crowd. Nothing like a little intrigue to draw the hipsters in and make them feel like they are witnessing something special to brag to friends about.
The lighting is deliberately low and dark and there are signs on the walls asking that people don’t take photos. When she enters the small stage she is just a rather plain girl with her hair brushed over her face in an attempt to make her seem mysterious. It’s a little bit of an anti- climax. There is no strange costume or wig to hide her identity and this hasn’t really been thought out.
She plays alone this evening explaining that her usual assistant is not there. It is a little disappointing that most of the music is pre – recorded and not any of it other than her voice is actually live. She has a sweet enough voice but the sound system is largely letting her down, eventually failing all together. It’s hard to hear her and people from the back begin to complain a little loudly.
Opening with the track ” Dust” she sings sweetly enough however it is noticeable that nobody in the slightest really knows her music. Nobody sings along, the crowd just tends to sway nonchalantly. It’s when she covers Drake’s ” Hold On, We’re Coming home” that people really start to enjoy themselves, for the most of it people chatter and its hard to hear her over the din. She sings it eerily and beautifully a song that is suited to her sound, slower than Drake’s original version. Each song tends to meld into the next with little pause in between. She has quite a lovely voice that is rather ethereal.
Singing mostly the six tracks of the EP she fleshed out the evening by throwing in a few new tracks and apologizes that the compositions are not complete. She’s not overly chatty and lacks any real stage presence, she’s not the type of performer that will be ever suited to large arenas or festivals. She just really lacks the ability to connect with the audience, maybe because of the technical errors or the lack of assistance from another musician but it’s not the most memorable of shows. But amongst the various hipster bars she will be better suited and this is where her success will probably lay. However the disinterested crowd have spent most of the night chatting and not really listening and she hasn’t managed to enrapture everyone. About ten percent actually know who she is, the others just more than likely want something interesting to talk about on Monday at work.
Finishing the evening with her popular release ” Piñata” she has saved her best song for last and it’s a rather pretty song. Sadly the sound system fails all together during the previous song and this popular song is just enough to make people want to stay. She manages to save face but still lacks the ability to make people shut up and listen. It’s a shame that the record company is promoting her this way, as its pretentious. She needs to fall back on stage presence, a greater body of work and not so much intrigue to build a fan base otherwise her career with be rather ephemeral. She does not even have enough material for an encore and the 43 min set is all over quite quickly. It’s a shame really she has a lovely voice, but just needs a little more work in other areas to see her take off.