Australia is enjoying an incredible golden age of hip-hop right now. Sounds, subjects and crowds are diversifying and growing, and some of the very best were on offer last Friday night at the Enmore Theatre, during Seth Sentry‘s 1969 Campaign Trail Tour, with equally solid support slots from Remi and Sarah Connor.
Connor, who recently dropped her wicked new single Apex took to the stage first, warming up the audience with her powerful beats and insightful lyrics. The crowd was filling up from early on, and the already-rowdy crowd lapped it up. The entire night was filled with special guests and surprises, and Sarah brought out Natalie Slade, Bigredcap and Losty to help deliver the killer first set of the night. Apex in particular drew the crowd in, with each MC spitting their own dynamic verses with fervour and energy that made the song sound even better live on stage. For anyone who’s not yet aware of Sarah Connor, make sure to check her out – she’s one of the best upcoming rappers and she’s only just getting started.
Remi took to the stage shortly after, accompanied by longtime producer and collaborator Sensible J on drums, and Hau on hype man duties. Easily one of the most talented and most important voices in Australian music right now, his energy and stage presence was phenomenal. Remi is gearing up to release his own new album Divas and Demons later this year, and performed a handful of new tracks to huge reception, including his brand new single Substance Therapy. The addition of live percussion added tremendous power to the already hyped set, made even stronger by guest appearances from Omar Musa (who also just dropped a great new single, Freedom) and the one and only Sampa The Great. After noting to the crowd that there a little too much testosterone on the all-male stage, Remi introduced Sampa to one of the biggest cheers of the night. The pair delivered an outstanding version of their brilliant collaborative track For Good. Their chemistry is palpable and I can only hope these two will head out on a co-headline tour some time soon. Remi noted during the set that it was his job to warm the crowd up, and he absolutely did; the room was almost at capacity well before his set wrapped up.
Last time I saw Seth Sentry live was at the very end of his fifty-date tour last year, the first major run of his 2015 album Strange New Past. The gig was animated and raucous, but I was so not prepared for how much has changed and expanded since then. From the very first moments of his set, it became clear he’d stepped it up a notch – or twenty. Booming electronic beats heralded him on stage, as the dark room was immediately filled with wild applause.
During my recent interview with Seth, he explained that things were going to be different this time; updated arrangements, a live drummer, new songs in and old songs out. But I really wasn’t expecting the magnitude of the energy, the sound and the production to have stepped up that highly. Backed by more live drums from Stevie Cat Jnr and DJing/onstage antics from DJ Sizzle, the crowd response was insane – not just on his most tried and tested tracks like Run, Waitress Song and Dear Science, but the newer cuts from Strange New Past that are now getting played live for the first time. That said, a personal favourite was Hellboy, what with the blackened stage bathed in dim red lighting, a sea of hands making the devil’s horn sign, and that jazzy bass line ringing out.
The crowd were rowdy and receptive – although perhaps a little too much at times. It would’ve only been after the first or second track that Seth had to ask people to stop throwing stuff on stage. Although, when he later parted the crowd to walk through and grab a beer (his version of crowd surfing, he noted, as he’s claustrophobic and understandably wasn’t keen to jump directly into a sea of thousands of bodies), the crowd parted so quickly and easily that he said it was the easiest run they’d ever done. Unfortunately whoever gave him a beer decided to do so in a plastic cup, not a bottle, so by the time he got back on stage there was about one gulp left. Oops.
Remi later came back out to join Seth for their track Nobody Like Me, before rounding off the main set with the track of the night, 1969. From the beginning of the night to the end of the encore, Sarah Connor, Remi and Seth Sentry brought out their absolute best to the beautiful Enmore Theatre.
Below, check out our full photos gallery of the night. You can also check out the remaining 1969 Campaign Trail tour dates – I highly recommend heading along.
Seth Sentry Tour Dates
FRI 29 JULY | DISCOVERY, DARWIN NT
SAT 30 JULY | THE GOV, ADELAIDE SA
FRI 05 AUG | CLUB 54, LAUNCESTON TAS
SAT 06 AUG | UNI BAR HOBART, HOBART TAS
THU 11 AUG | PRINCE OF WALES, BUNBURY WA
FRI 12 AUG | METRO CITY, PERTH WA
SAT 13 AUG | SETTLERS TAVERN, MARGARET RIVER WA
Photos: Danielle Hansen / Howl & Echoes