Gig Reviews

Montpelier EP Launch, The Gaelic Theatre – 12/03/10

I like Montpelier. I don’t know whether it’s their beautiful music or that they’re a bunch of good-looking, well-dressed young blokes. Either way, the fondness exists. Okay, so pretty faces aside…

Whether you’re a fan of sentimental indie pop (think Death Cab for Cutie) or passionate indie rock (Arcade Fire style), the Brisbane band caters for all with an individual sound that encapsulates both and then some. Their songs aren’t your standard clone pop numbers, yet are catchy enough to imagine on some top twenty music list. This charming quality carried across from their debut self-titled EP to its Sydney launch at The Gaelic Theatre Friday night.

Montpelier are an act worth seeing live. Vocalist Greg Chiapello has a powerful, stirring voice that is a great asset to the band, and their passion and talent carries across in their performance with heartfelt precision. They played songs from the EP such as the Celtic-flavoured ‘Take A Picture’ (reminiscent of The Pogues) and a selection of other songs, ranging from a bluesy number to the nostalgic ‘Last Boat’. I would have liked to have heard even more of the EP though – don’t hold back, fellas!

Preceded by rock band Sunroom, the contrast in atmosphere and audience with Montpelier was astonishing (exchange Tool t-shirts and mosh pit for composed kids wearing glasses and pretty dresses). Their lyrics are wistful and poetic, revealing that those of the male species can be as profound and romantic as the rest of us. Strong drums and guitar amplified the rock element, while melodious keyboard and persistent harmonies reinforced the sentimentality. The intimate Gaelic Theatre provided a fitting atmosphere for the emotional intensity that comes across with Montpelier.

Montpelier left the best until last with ‘The Rafters’, a catchy tune marked by a fantastic keyboard riff and the subtle vocals of Dave Butler. The song was welcomed with crowd-clapping and dancing and finished with a communal chorus singing “oh-oh-ohhh…”. I amusingly recalled singing along in the same passionate way listening to their EP in my bedroom. Montpelier are proficient at spirited, anthemic phrases which draw the crowd into their colourful world of “comets” and “fireworks”.

A talented bunch, Montpelier have great potential and are one to watch. The next step is getting their music heard, so let’s all sing along—in, and out, of our bedrooms. In their words: “let the music play, doesn’t matter where you are.”

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