Gig review

Seth Sentry
The Metro Theatre

So I'm at a gig. Scribbling away at a reporter-style notepad to pass the time. It's awkward, how the hell did Bob Woodward work with such a small piece of paper? I guess I look a bit like a reporter what with the pad and the trench coat I'm wearing. Or maybe a music journalist given that I'm at a gig. A bad music journalist since I thought the first support act was the main act. One and a half stars. For him and me. But I'm standing where I suppose a music journalist would stand. Leaning dispassionately against a wall, elevated by a single step, close to the exit, next to a heavily bearded guy. In my defence the support act looked a lot like the main guy, I googled it. That's how familiar I am with Seth Sentry, I had to google his face. There's another support act on now. He is also not Seth Sentry and I could have told you that without the aid of a search engine. He does have a song about Thundercats though with a dubstep sound to it. Two and a half stars. His man working the decks is wearing all black save for a slit exposing his eyes and declares himself (via a sign) to be a ninja. Three and a half stars. I feel though, despite the clothing, bass as heavy as this may compromise his stealthiness. I don't go to a great many gigs (which undermines my musical journalistical credentials no end) so when I do it is interesting to check my current tastes against their demographic. These days though I think I'd only feel young at a Rolling Stones gig. People in their thirties still go to gigs but if the artist/band you're there for is considerably younger than you maybe you should instead be going to what is known as a 'concert'. So let's analyse my situation. A few tweens (n.b. not sure what that term describes but they look like what I imagine it to mean). A fair few bearded chaps including the aforementioned proximate. A lot of baseball caps. Either it is still legal to wear them in Australia after thirty or those people are younger than me. Both support acts are now on the stage in a duet, though I doubt it's called that in the hip-hop world. Oh yeah, Seth Sentry is a white, Australian rapper in his mid-twenties, I'm not certain which part (if any) of that description should preclude me from this gig but I suspect one may. But live music itself is a curiosity to me. Wait...there is another guy on stage isn't Seth. Support act 1 has gone and and support act 2 has been joined by what appears to be his twin brother, distinguishable only by the differing angle of their baseball caps. Anyway, live music. I go to the gigs of artists I like because...? For some experience I can't get through a pair of hard, white, plastic earphones? I guess. For the inestimable cache of seeing an artist before they become big? Don't discount that. So I hear a song on the radio, I like it. I listen to the album, I love it. Pick my favourite songs, learn the words. Sing those songs at an offensive volume and tone when drunk. Decide I need to hear them live. And when I do they come with a certain sense of disappointment. They don't sound the same. They lack the backing, featured artists are absent. The singer subtly alters the lyrical delivery throwing out your meticulously rehearsed parrot. You kinda wanted to turn up, have the band put on the CD and pretend to play their instruments while the singer mimes. You can compare it supporting a football team. The strength of your support will ever be questioned unless you see them live. The support acts have finally, finally fucked off. Seth's team is now unpacking his decks, his Macbook, his guns. Part of his act would appear to involve items you find at the back (aka the best) part of the Argos catalogue. They're multi-coloured so they probably shoot pellets or water, either that or he 3D printed them and intends to kill us all but since this is Australia and not the USA that feels infinitely less likely. I suppose we still don't trust modern technology to deliver us the authentic entertainment experience. Football through a TV, music through an iPod, it doesn't entirely count. Seth is out, he is bare-headed! No, hold on, he's put on a baseball cap. Maybe I should reassess caps. He looks like support act 1 but is somehow more substantial. He's larger, as if puffed by fame. He's brighter, as if buffed by fame...the fame that comes with being on Australian national radio anyway. He's started his set but there is a constant flow of people back and forth, where are they going? It makes it hard to write as they squeeze past, this sort of thing must really irritate other music journalists too I reckon. Seth is asking the crowd to wave their arms in the style of Limp Bizkit's 'Rollin''. I want to join in but I can't because -
1, I'm a dispassionate music journalist.
2, I'm stood next to a wall.
Seth is firing the gun into the crowd, they look like pellets, pinging between jazz hands and spirit fingers but they could be E's for all I know. That would certainly get him a name. And a sentence. He is reminding me why I come to gigs. To stand in a room full of people who love this sound as much as you do easily beats the cold, repeatable perfection of digital media. It's the shared orgiastic experience of seeing someone who drew these lyrics from the swirling pool of their imagination and experiences, who hummed this tune before they built it into a 4/4 structure. To see someone stand up in front of strangers and under glaring lights that allow no dark corner in which to hide and do something they'd dreamed of since childhood. To do something they'd ploughed blood, sweat, tears and life savings into despite the insurmountable odds of it turning into something. They probably staked everything on getting here and headlining the Metro Theatre in Sydney isn't even halfway there. And if, for me, all that isn't the reason to go to live gigs then at least some of the price of my ticket goes to the artist. 'Cause I probably pirated their album anyway.

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