Friday 8 August
It was always going to be a tough gig, playing the Soundlounge when Splendour was going down just 40 minutes away, but there was a lovely vibe going on when Nicole Brophy took to the stage. A friend of Monique’s, and previous vocalist for Dirty Lucy it wasn’t her first time at the venue and she was comfortable on stage at one point pulling out a classy, metallic baby-blue electric guitar. It felt a little like a set with a personality disorder though, as Nicole switched from her folky ballads to her rock-chick songs. She was quick to point out that although she was alone on stage she was accompanied with a rather large amp, much larger than Monique’s. It was building up to be a bit of a pissing competition between the two friends.
There’s no question the small but passionate crowd were keen for Monique Brumby though. And when she took to the stage with her band there was that usual tickle of anticipation.
I’ve seen Monique before and there’s no question in my mind that the lady excels on stage – something that rarely transfers across to CD. During her hour and a half set she told stories about living with a gay men (and his smelly stuff), being pissed off at the government and even expressed a bit of tribute to Dolly Parton. As mentioned elsewhere here in Blank, she’s mad about her grandma and she got a mention too. She also threw in this crazy little yodel every now and then that brought a smile to my dial.
Daisy Chain was the perfect song to really bring the four guitars on stage to life. And Monique’s vocals at the end of As Sweet as Your Are were phenomenal. I couldn’t help but think of her as a musical athlete, giving herself the biggest run-up before doing something really impressive.
Monique also demonstrated several times her inability to dance. Both on-stage and in the crowd, she kind of showed that being a talented musician doesn’t necessarily transfer over to the twinkle-toes department.
There were a couple of stand-out moments of the show (apart from the mention of Blank, which could well be the first time an artist has ever done that on stage). Firstly, she played her newest single Silent War twice. Well known now to be a song about marriage equality, I’d never seen anyone do that before. But it was a smart move. When hearing it the second time you can’t help but think ‘oh man, I love this song, I know this song.’
And then there was the rendition of Suzanne Vega’s Luka. Of course, the song itself evokes all kinds of thoughts given the weighty topic. But Monique’s version was haunting, touching. Just awesome.
It’s always a shame for someone of Monique’s talent to play in front of such a modest crowd, but I can say one thing with confidence. There wasn’t a person in that audience who wasn’t won over on Monique’s charms by the night’s end.
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You can purchase Monique’s newest self-titled album through her website moniquebrumby.com or via itunes.