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Seth Sentry

Dear Science tour.




I’ve fallen in love with Aussie hip-hop, and when I fall, I fall hard. Like a teenage girl with a celebrity crush, I am obsessed. Who kept this a secret from me for so long? Chance Waters, Mind Over Matter and Seth Sentry were my introduction to the genre, and my eyes were further opened at the Bendigo leg of the Groovin’ the Moo festival tour, when Sentry was joined onstage by Ellesquire, Tuka, and Pez (among others). My CD collection growing, my eyes peeled for local gigs, I wanted more. What a serendipitous event that I attend Seth Sentry’s show at The Forum on 17/05. Maybe the hip-hop Gods were smiling down on me, or maybe it’s just that Sentry is an incredibly likeable dude (my bet is the latter) – whatever it was, it was a beautiful thing to stand in the audience and watch guest artist after guest artist appear onstage. All these wonderful MC’s I can’t stop listening to, all on the one stage over the course of one evening. It bordered on overwhelming.


There’s something about this collection of MC’s – Sentry, Tuka, Pez – their words, their lyrics, and the sentiments expressed in their music – that captures my attention in a way others in the genre never have. A lot of these songs have a sincerity, thoughtfulness, and depth that I had not at all expected. Thundamentals Like A Version cover of ‘Brother’ by Matt Corby perfectly typifies this – and when MC Tuka performed it during his set on Friday night, it surely hurt my heart a little. These tug-at-your-heartstrings, thought-provoking songs aren’t the only reason I’m interested in these MC’s, of course – regardless of subject matter, these guys write really damn good songs. They sing about places I know, make cultural references I understand, and rap in an accent that is the same as my own. The ocean of snap-backs and hoodies that surrounded me in front of the stage at The Forum Theatre suggests I’m not the only Melbournian who feels this way.


Traffic woes meant we caught only the tail-end of Ellesquire’s performance, but fortunately he joined fellow Sydneysider Tuka on stage for most of his set. Tuka is pretty damn wonderful – I’ve no other words to describe him, really. His reworking of ‘I’m Into You’ by Chet Faker made an appearance during his set, and it, alongside ‘Brother’, were standouts not only of his set, but of the night.


When our beloved Seth Sentry stepped onstage, accompanied by the always entertaining DJ Sizzle, he was greeted warmly by this hometown audience. The set began with ‘Float Away’, followed by ‘Vacation’ and ‘Ink Blot Test’ – all from his debut album This Was Tomorrow. It was an unexpected delight when Sentry invited friend and collaborator Pez on stage to perform Pez’s own track ‘Ain’t Got Time’ – one of my favourites of the night. It’s hard to believe that a few short years ago Sentry was the support act for Pez – the tables have turned, somewhat - but Friday night showed there’s still an incredible amount of love for this Melbourne MC (especially from the women in the audience screaming for Pez to ‘get naked’; he declined).


Long-time Seth Sentry fans were delighted by the appearance of some of the MC’s older tracks, including ‘Train Catcher’ and definite crowd favourite ‘The Waitress Song’. It was the banter between songs, however, that was one of the highlights of the night – Sentry was clearly relishing performing in front of a home-town crowd, the audience full of friends and family members. Sentry and DJ Sizzle donned aprons for ‘Thanks For Your Hospitality’ – an ode to time served working the hospitality industry – and Sentry’s distaste for and anguish about the industry was entertaining, to say the least. Sentry’s Like A Version cover of Frenzal Rhomb’s ‘Punch In The Face’ made an appearance toward the end of the set, and it was just about my favourite of Sentry’s set. The MC’s song writing versatility was shown when he invited Melbourne songstress Ali Barter onstage to perform ‘Ten Paces’ – an unexpectedly (and welcome) chill moment in the midst of a rather full-on evening. ‘Room For Rent’ and ‘My Scene’ got the crowd going again, before an encore featuring ‘Where Was You’, and a rather amazing freestyle with appearances from Grey Ghost, Mantra, and Jeremedy. ‘Dear Science’, Sentry’s ode to hover boards, ended the night on a high, and he was joined on stage by all of the MC’s that had appeared throughout the evening, as well as Sam Margin from The Rubens, who’s voice was perfect for the song’s chorus. It was so very special. The sky is the limit for Sentry, and I can’t wait to see what happens next for this very talented guy.


Video: my attempts to capture 'Dear Science' @ The Forum on 17/05/13.
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