Montaigne @ Adelaide Festival Summerhouse, Elder Park, Adelaide 10/3/2022

When glorious heights are reached, remarkable things can happen. Montaigne is a testament to that.
Gracing Adelaide Festival’s Summerhouse, the barefooted singer-songwriter and Unearthed High alum launched into an acoustic version of I am Not an End. In a heartbeat, the quietude transitioned into discordance as her band kicked in. The party had started.

Transformation was to become the theme of the performance.

Montaigne (Jess Cerro) sang Technicolour, Glorious Heights, I’m a Fantastic Wreck and CHANGE back-to-back. There was minimal banter and maximum performance. She danced across the stage like nobody was watching, embodying the music with every movement. Her inimitable and magnificent voice reverberated through the open-air venue.

Lonely followed and brought with it transformation. Overcome with emotion, Cerro took a knee and openly, but gently, wept. It was a poignant moment. The power of music, in particular live music, to soothe, heal and transform was profoundly evident and felt by all. The audience collectively encouraged Cerro. She embraced the moment, owned it, and emerged resolute, more engaged, and devoid of barriers.

For the remainder of the show, an artist full of forthrightness, humour and a plethora of talent stood before us. She shared stories of past loves, present loves, lessons learned, her music visions, and vegan ultra-runners connecting them all to the songs she sang. We were transfixed by her every word, lyric, and dance move. And we fell in love with her, or more in love with her as the case may be.

The stories were entwined with songs from Glorious Heights (2016) – Because I Love You, Till It Kills Me; Complex (2019) – For Your Love, Love Might Be Found (Volcano), Losing My Mind, The Dying Song, Pleasure, READY; and her upcoming new album – Now (In Space), Always Be You. They highlighted her evolution as an artist whose first album was released when she was 21. The progression from sad songs to happy songs was evident. As was the fact all songs were just really good.

It was an affective and passionate performance from start to finish from Montaigne. One appreciated by the live music starved crowd as it appeared it was from her. What is exciting is the anticipation of what is yet to come from a jewel in the crown of Australian music.

Adelaide Festival Review By Anita Kertes