Supporting Montero at a Monday night Hug and Pint gig, Barbe Rousse, otherwise known as Alastair Kelly, performed a fantastic set with band in tow, ensuring the crowd got their money’s worth before a solo Benny Montero took to the stage for something that seemed unrehearsed and improvised, but without the professionalism that we perhaps see at a jazz gig. But perhaps that’s his draw, this unpredictability and DIY approach which is also evident with his artwork.

Ben Montero, integral to Melbourne’s music scene, was headlining the Hug and Pint, taking requests from the punters, performing tracks like Tokin’ the Night Away, which hints at his sporadic style to gig-playing. Having played in the duo Early Woman with Hannah Brooks and releasing his debut album as Montero, The Loving Gaze, in 2013, he was then discovered by prominent Australian label Chapter Music for Performer, his long-awaited follow-up.

Edinburgh’s more local Barbe Rousse recently released Misc. Muses last year on Double A-Side Records, and in supporting Montero, performed a fabulous set of tracks from the LP, which drew my further interest in this Scottish band. Having recently interviewed Alastair I was keen to hear their live sound and was delighted to hear this quirky lead up to Montero.

Ben Montero adorned in a fur coat, perhaps faux, sat alone at his keys whilst he entertained the crowd, in a post-modern rendition of a Burt Bacharach gig. Awkward,  socially weird, with evocative and often contentious lyrics, the musician has a clear sense of defiance and unconventional style of performance as he chatted away to the audience, and at one particular moment inviting an audience member to sing about Buckfast. In fact, I think we were only treated to a grand total of five tracks with an early curtain call, but the crowd were buzzing from the performance, having spent a few bucks on the plethora of musical and artistic merch for sale. However short and unprofessional the set was it was certainly not devoid of entertainment even if a lot of that was lost, as it seemed to rely heavy on in-jokes and a wider knowledge of Montero.

For more on Montero click here.