Montero – Sebright Arms, London, UK (15th February 2018)

Following the release of his first album, Performer, Montero came to the capital to show off his unique take on psychedelic pop. After landing in London solo last week, the cartoonist, and go-to artist for the likes of Pond and Mac DeMarco, proved his talent for creating psychedelic dreamy sounds at the Sebright Arms. His whimsical, chilled-out demeanor onstage and welcoming, approachable  personality off it, makes him a truly likeable performer with real talent.

He’s charmed the internet with his charming otherworldly cartoons, created artwork for Pond’s ‘Man It Feels Like Space Again,’ worked on Mac DeMarco’s tour merchandise, and bits of artwork for Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett. However, Ben Montero proved himself as a multi-talented artist, by supporting DeMarco on his recent tour and releasing his new album Performer which is a unique blend of slow rock and psychedelic pop. Tracks like ‘Running Race’ and ‘Vibrations’ shining through as instant classics.

Taking over the Sebright Arms, armed with a unique selection of his offbeat doodles, and supported by Mass Datura, Ben Montero took to the stage by himself this time. It could be said that he exuded a kind of dreamlike relaxation while reciting his fanciful tunes. Songs like ‘Tokin the Night Away’ encouraged a good old singalong, while ‘Vibrations’ showed off his impressive vocals.

A personal favourite, ‘Montero Airlines’ displays his ability to write songs that drive upward to a climactic chorus, he then shows off his cheeky sense of humour at the end of the song as he sings “Thank you for flying Montero today” to his onlooking audience. There was also the whimsical ‘Running Race’, and the groovy ‘Adriana’ from his first album The Loving Gaze.

‘Pilot’ had a kind of offbeat charm to it, “Ready to go where the winds gonna blow, I’m gonna prove I’m a pilot” he sings under the warm lights. His unique tone may sound familiar to those who have listened to Jay Watson’s work as Gum as he’s a frequent collaborator with the psychedelic pop rock stars. ‘Caught Up in My Own World’ is a relatable dreamlike tale which he sings with an otherworldly charisma. He also made sure to throw in a Beach Boys cover, taking on ‘Only With You’.

Offstage, Montero is a quirky, friendly and approachable guy, with a clear appreciation for the likes of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Beach Boys and other psychedelic rock pioneers. His charm on and off stage makes him a real presence and one to watch. Hopefully he’ll be back again soon to play more idiosyncratic pop.