Live Review: Montpelier + Charlie Mayfair + Kate & Max - The Zoo, Brisbane (14.01.2012)

It’s always a sad day when a band decides it’s time to call it quits, and for the band Montpelier, it’s quite sad indeed. Although they are not the most well known group in Brisbane, they do have a loyal little band of followers, and I won’t lie, I am one of them. I’ve been with them for most of their two and a half year stint, going to the majority of their Brisbane gigs.

The issue I’ve always had with the band is that while their songs are brilliant, they are just boring to watch on stage. Tonight, however, can I just make clear, was not your normal Montpelier gig. There was nothing boring about it. It was something more, something truly special.

Up first for the night were the wondrous Kate & Max, a duo who really are quite something. Between four guitars and a melodica, they created such beautiful folk-infused songs. I do admire a band who can be so comfortable sitting while playing a gig - it was like they were in a room a quarter of the size of The Zoo - but due to the social nature of tonight, it was a little hard to capture their raw essence, but you got the picture.

Here's something different for all those who have been to The Zoo! Remember that red hue that so often gleams from above as the default lighting colour? Thanks to Andrew Stone, of Montpelier fame, we had a stage that had some green lights! And blue! And white! There was even a little bit of purple/UV thrown into the mix. This makes me very happy. It doesn’t take much, just someone to flick a few buttons on a panel, but it makes all the difference!

Charlie Mayfair was up as the main support for Montpelier’s last hurrah. For a band that is usually quite folky and poppy, it was quite strange to hear everything bumped up so loud. Not that this was a bad thing - it’s been quite some time since I heard the band live, but it surprised me a little. They have certainly developed as a band and have definitely moved forward. No longer are they one of the bands that sound very similar on stage to what they do on record; they bring something else to the table. It’s very nice to see. 2012 is going to be a good year for Charlie Mayfair. It was strange to see Irena missing from stage tonight. Together with Hannah and Dave, their vocals work so well in harmony. However, they roped Greg from Montpelier in to cover what was missing, and it was a nice touch.

Although this was such a sad event because it marked the end of a band, it was such a great set from the band. They played for an hour and a half, showcasing almost their entire catalogue. Miss Hannah from Charlie Mayfair joined them on stage for “Harder Time”. It is quite a special song, truly beautiful. There were lots of old favourites from their debut EP, as well as many from their new EP, Feed the City, which the band were releasing this night also. I have mentioned that usually the band are a little dull on stage, but tonight was a complete one-eighty to what I have seen previously from the band; they were so engaging, and put everything they had into the set. It was a privilege to be there.