Back You are here: Home Reviews Live Review: Japanese Wallpaper, Montaigne, Banff @ The Zoo 02.07.2015

Live Review: Japanese Wallpaper, Montaigne, Banff @ The Zoo 02.07.2015

Trooping his way through 2014, Japanese Wallpaper (aka Gab Strum) has become the musical son that we all adopted into our hearts. Whether you fell in love with him after took out the Triple J Unearthed High Competition last year, or you’ve been stalking him like crazy since his debut single popped up in a Zach Braff flick, the Melbourne school kid has made a lasting impression on our music scene but it’s hard to say whether he is ready to headline a national tour.

Opening the night was Brisbane born and bred lad Banff who transformed his chilled rock riffs into a loud four piece band affair, smashing a full frontal, polished sound that is unexpected from an opening act. Banff’s vocals soar in the live arena but his grounded demeanour and mature lyricism really set himself as an emerging act that we’re definitely not done with yet. 

The diva-but-without-the-bad-attitude Montaigne was next up belting out powerful notes that filled your soul. If Paramore’s Haley Williams was born in rural Australia, we would have the indie pop powerhouse that is Montaigne. From dropping some of her popular tunes, to sneaking in a cheeky cover of Sia’s Chandelier, Montaigne showed off all she’s capable of, and there is no denying the talent in this songstress. 

Photo: Braydon Ritson

Wandering onto stage was the bright eyed, quirky teen with his plaid shirt and cap worn with pride. This is Gab’s first time to Brisbane, and the crowd blew his Brissy virginity right out the window as they hollered, squarked and shouted their love for the indie/electronica act. Joined by the very special Airling, Japanese Wallpaper flickered through his gorgeous melody of Forces that brings a brightness to electronica that leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth. 

Airling’s vocals was the delicious bacon on this electronic BLT, with such piercing, yet delicate vocals that settle in so beautifully into Japanese Wallpaper’s dreamlike sound. Montaigne also reprised onstage to contribute vocals. As she danced with closed eyes, lost in the music herself, we realised just how it is nigh impossible it is resist getting lost the dreamscape of Gab’s glockenspiel heavy tunes. Despite collaborating throughout the majority of his EP, using the vocals of the likes of Jesse Davidson and Wafia, the vocal cords of this Melbourne youngster certainly do not fall short. Gab is able to match the quality of vocals of any of his collaborators and doesn’t falter even in the slightest as he belts out his vocals and beats in one glorious display of musicianship. 

Photo: Braydon Ritson

Between Friends showed just how talented the lad is, with the audience going off at this already popular track, as his vocals cut right through without fault. Yet despite nailing every note, every beat and putting on a beautiful display of how Japanese Wallpaper shines so brightly, the night seemed to be lacking a professionalism that comes down to the fact that Gab might not be ready for a national tour. With a set that just lasted 40 minutes, comprising of his EP, one cover and a remix, it felt a little bit of a let down to the hype. The set list itself was a little lullabyish, it picked up as Between Friends kicked in and the crowd was starting to dance around and get into it, but it was the closing song and didn’t feel right. In saying this, if this is how you’re starting out, there’s no denying that you’re going far.

Prodigy is a term rarely given to young acts, but Gab Strum garnering the love of so many, his Brisbane stop shows that his talent goes way beyond the studio; this man, boy, young-adult is able to do more than just create ethereal produced tunes, but can stand alone as a live act. The future is long and bright for Japanese Wallpaper

 

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