Smokin’ hip-hop energy

ON THE ROAD: Sentry had to hit the gym to get in shape for his new tour, which will debut songs from his third album.WHEN he writes music, Seth Sentry subsists on a diet of caffeine, cigarettes and some surprisingly nutritious breakfast cereal.
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But now that his latest album is written and recorded, he’s hitting the road with some new material, a shake-up to his usual show, and hitting the gym.

“We’ve gotta be fit, that’s the thing,” Sentry tells Weekender from his home in Melbourne. Hip-hop performance is an active art, involving lots of movement while rapping intricate lyrics.

“And when I write a lot I smoke a lot of cigarettes,” he says.

“I don’t know why, I just fancy myself some sort of f—in’ author. Some old author in his little log cabin out in the forest. So I smoke cigarettes, and I always regret it ’cause when we come back to perform live I’ve gotta kind of stop that and do a bunch of running to get my cardio back up.”

Certain words and phrases come to Sentry (real name Seth Marton) all the time, which he jots down on a piece of paper or on his phone, but he turns writing into a 9-to-5 job when he’s working on an album.

It’s a formula that’s worked well so far. Sentry is set to release his third record some time this year after three weeks of recording wrapped up in February, and he has already locked down the album art work, working with the same artist from his first two records.

“We did it in such a way that if you fold out the front and back cover they both connect to make one long panorama,” Sentry says.

“I like the art to be a reflection of the music as well … I like to include pieces from songs and stuff into the art.”

The first taste of the record, single Run – about growing up in the suburbs and running from police – is a hint of what’s to come from a more personal offering. The album is the first to be wholly produced by frequent Sentry collaborator Styalz Fuego.

“The songs are a lot more honest than I’ve ever written before,” Sentry says.

“I don’t know why that is, I think it’s just getting older and, I dunno, being more open to self-examination or whatever.

“Maybe it’s going to be 50 per cent kind of this self-examination sort of thing, introspective, and maybe another half just, I don’t know, random s – – t.”

So far, each of his records has produced one song that particularly captured the imagination of his fans. EP Waiter Minute had The Waitress Song and album This Was Tomorrow had Dear Science, asking why scientists hadn’t yet invented the hoverboard. It’s a songwriting philosophy Sentry champions.

“Basically I just pick something kind of trivial and I like to blow it up and see how much I can kind of squeeze out of it for a song,” Sentry says.

“That’s what I did with The Waitress Song. I’ve got a crush on the waitress so I try to see if I can write a whole song just on that. Same with the hoverboard: I picked the hoverboard because I think I was watching Back to the Future and I thought ‘aw, where’s my hoverboard’, so you write a song.”

The latter effort meant Sentry was in the middle of a social media whirlwind at the beginning of the year – Back to the Future showed hoverboards in a fictional 2015, so fans flocked around Sentry as their leader.

“I’m not dead passionate about it like people seem to think,” Sentry says with a laugh.

“It’s just a song, but I was getting like, by the end of it, tens of thousands of these links to this phoney hoverboard video … which was cute and it’s really nice, but I couldn’t use social media for ages because it was just link after link after link of this video.”

Social media is a key way Sentry connects with his fans (he admits “a lot of it is just me just giving shit to people who try to give shit to me”). He’s been overwhelmed with feedback for Run, which has resonated with people around the country.

“You always think when you grow up in one of those little isolated kind of coastal communities you have your own world that no one else understands,” Sentry says.

“But from all the feedback I’ve been getting, I guess everyone kind of had a little place like that.”

Sentry will be visiting far-flung places in a national tour, which comes to The Cambridge in March, presenting a fresh show and new songs with long-time on-stage collaborator Sizzle.

“We’ve been going back through and pulling all the beats apart that we used to use for live shows and remixing them. We’re gonna be restructuring the whole set from the ground up,” he says.

Seth Sentry plays The Cambridge on March 12.

For councillor Reg Kidd, sorry seems to be the hardest word to say

CODE OF SILENCE: Councillor Reg Kidd is yet to apologise for code of conduct breaches that have cost Orange ratepayers $58,000.Photo: STEVE GOSCH 0223sgtree2ALMOST a year after he breached Orange City Council’s code of conduct with his questioning of a report by respected corporate services director Kathy Woolley, councillor Reg Kidd is yet to utter a public apology and ratepayers have been left with a $58,000 bill.
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That is how much it cost for council staff and a code of conduct review panel, headed by a solicitor, to take written and oral statements from staff and councillors and for the panel to adjudicate the matter.

At last week’s meeting councillors voted to sanction Cr Kidd and tabled a page-long motion calling on him to apologise in open council for the comments made in March 2014 about Ms Woolley’s report on funding for Racing Orange.

Cr Kidd was also breached for declaring an interest in the item but failing to leave the chamber immediately, without making further comment, as the local government code of conduct requires.

Since Wednesday the Central Western Daily has tried numerous times without success to contact the usually forthcoming councillor.

We wanted to ask Cr Kidd whether he accepted he had breached the code and would publicly apologise to Ms Woolley.

We also wanted to ask whether he was contrite, whether he thought ratepayers would appreciate the $58,000 bill and whether he thought an earlier mea culpa and apology in the public chamber could have saved ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars.

But try as we might, by landline, mobile phone and email, we could not contact Cr Kidd to get his side of the story.

Several councillors contacted by the CWD were dismayed at the cost of enforcing the code of behaviour but were reluctant to discuss how the code should be policed in the future until Cr Kidd had had an opportunity to respond to their motion.

That opportunity will come at next week’s meeting. Council papers to be released today are expected to list councillor Kidd’s response as an agenda item for open council.

Mayor John Davis could not be reached last night for his take on Cr Kidd’s conduct but council spokesman Nick Redmond said Cr Kidd’s contrition was a matter for him.

“If it’s listed on council’s agenda he will either speak or not speak, that’s up to Cr Kidd,” Mr Redmond said.

He said the identity of the person lodging the original code of conduct complaint would remain confidential, as local government regulations required.

He did confirm that earlier this week Cr Kidd attended a code of conduct workshop on the rules surrounding a conflict of interest and declaring an interest, but this was scheduled well before last week’s vote and many councillors and staff attended.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Review: Darren Middleton & Guy Pearce

DOUBLE ACT: Guy Pearce with Darren Middleton at Lizotte’s, Lambton. Picture: Dean OslandREVIEW
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Darren Middleton & Guy Pearce

Lizotte’s Newcastle, February 19

THIS was never going to be an easy sell. One guy famous, for acting. The other guy famous for the band he used to be in.

But let’s be clear: the crowd reaction indicated they loved the whole show, from beginning to end. Pearce is a natural on stage, and he chatted all night long, to both his stage partners and to the audience. Middleton was relaxed, ripping some great guitar in and out of the your-turn-my-turn set.

Backed by The Octobers (Kelly Lane, Shannon Birchall, Marty Brown and Talei Wolfgramm), a four-piece outfit designed for the tour, the two leading men set about building a platform for music they like to play. Playing songs off the back of each of their recent albums, Translations by Middleton and Broken Bones by Pearce, they called it the Broken/Translations tour. Cute, but not so clever.

If you were the guy making the call on this band’s album, it would be the Middleton songs, hands down. Starting with the encore, The Metre, which Middleton can claim credit for, off Powderfinger’s Odyssey Number Five album. Absolutely prime beef rock’n’roll. Adding from the back of the set, you would take Pearce’s Taste, a very Powderfinger-like song assisted by Middleton’s great guitar burn.

Still picking from the back of the deck, we’ll take Middleton’s Failing Now and Storms, both touched with that Powderfinger DNA in some way. Add Set It Right and Be With You, from Middleton.

You can pick over the rest, maybe I need to hear them again. The Middleton songs certainly sounded more raw and real live.

I appreciate Guy Pearce answering his own call to take his music on the road. He’s a capable musician and has great stage presence. His voice at times was even David Bowie-like. But if I was blindfolded, I’d have gone with the real rock’n’roller. And I would have asked for more from the women on stage (Kelly Lane and Talei Wolfgramm), because what they did offer was dynamite.

Seeing the big picture

PROFILED: Paul Keating at Barangaroo East, Darling Harbour..PAUL Keating held the seat of Blaxland from October 1969 to April 1996.
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That’s a long time to be in Parliament, but for all of Keating’s longevity, his term at the Lodge seemed to come and go in a flash.

At four years and two months, it was a bit more than a flash, but after all of the build-up as the great reforming treasurer, the actual Keating prime ministership was probably something of an anti-climax.

Obviously, it had its high points.

The Redfern speech on reconciliation, a year into the job in December 1992, was one of the great speeches of our time.

But the economic and political cycles were clearly against him, and Labor was deeply unpopular when Keating’s hated nemesis, John Howard, took the Coalition to a substantial victory in 1996.

But like Malcolm Fraser, Keating is a former PM whose public standing is higher now than when he was in office.

At 71, Keating, like Fraser, has become a “grey eminence”. Divorced from Annita and in a long-term relationship with actress Julieanne Newbould, Keating seems finally at ease with his public persona as a man of art and antiques, buying into the debates that interest him from his digs in Potts Point.

His biographer, this time around, is the Victorian historian David Day, the author of more than a dozen books, most of which deal with Australia, its leaders or its wartime record. The best known book about Keating came from his speechwriter, Don Watson, whose 2002 account, Recollections Of A Bleeding Heart, told the story of Keating’s “head” across more than 700 immaculately crafted pages.

Keating felt betrayed by Watson – the “bleeding heart” of the title – and the two fell famously out. According to Day, a rapprochement is still some distance away.

Watson approached his subject from a very personalised angle. Day’s work is more formal, a conventionally balanced record of a man whose economic reforms, as treasurer, were central to creating the robust economy that is modern Australia.

It is impossible to read this book without reflecting on the differences between federal politics then and now.

It’s true that the spectre and reality of terrorism had not raised its head in any major way during the Hawke/Keating years, meaning that Labor was able to govern without the weight of an issue that now permeates politics around the world.

But the “big picture” that Keating painted for watchers of Australian political life is sadly missing from today’s Canberra.

As he told Kerry O’Brien in a quote repeated by Day, “We all get carried out in the end. It’s a matter of what sort of trail you can blaze and with what sort of elan.”

Paul Keating The Biography, David Day, Harper Collins

A homage to heroes

ROCKER: New Lambton Heights musician Jesse Fildes is releasing his debut EP, From The Top, on February 28.HE’S only young, but Jesse Fildes’ debut album has been a long time in the making.
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The New Lambton Heights local, 23, first picked up a guitar at the age of 12 and started strumming along to his favourite CDs, eventually getting good enough to join a band as a 16-year-old. Since then, he’s been playing covers inspired by music greats like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Now, with the help of his girlfriend, who taught him to read and write music, he’s ready to release material of his own: a five-track EP making its debut this weekend.

The record, From The Top, was put down by Fildes in a makeshift studio in his house, with the help of a friend who has a background in sound engineering.

“It’s my first originals venture, so it’s all a bit new to me, but I’m really enjoying it,” Fildes says. He did the vocals, back-up vocals, guitar and bass on the recording, while friend Jackson Collings took care of the drums.

“It’s all hard rock, some funky sort of riffs in there, and a lot of ’80s-style leads and harmonies,” Fildes says.

“All the songs are kind of from personal experiences that I’ve had, and I just tried to pay homage to all my heroes and all the people I was influenced by when I was learning music.”

The record is being released this weekend, via digital download on his website jessefildesmusic南京夜网 for $5 (free for a week from today), or at upcoming gigs by his band, Tres Hombres, for $10. So far, the reaction to advanced copies has been positive.

Fildes formed the band after a jam night at the Wickham Park Hotel two years ago. The trio perform a mix of lively covers and original material. On stage, Fildes has a few tricks up his sleeve, including playing the guitar behind his head, a homage to Hendrix, but in his daily life, he’s a little more reserved.

He has almost finished an electrical engineering degree at the University of Newcastle, with one subject left in semester two. The lull means he has time to play gigs regularly.

And though he’s invested time and money in his career, he hopes to become a professional musician if the opportunity presents itself.

“I’m definitely going to pursue music as much as I can as long as I can,” Fildes says.

“If I never have to use my degree I won’t, I’ll just do music. The trouble with music is it’s such a fickle kind of industry. It’s not a very stable industry, so all I can do is give it a go. While I’ve got the time up my sleeve at the moment, I’m just going to hone my craft as much as possible.”

To complete the circle, Fildes is also helping hone the craft of others, through guitar tutorials he posts to YouTube.

“I like teaching people and sharing knowledge and all that kind of thing,” Fildes says.

No doubt it’s to the benefit of a 12-year-old somewhere out there.

Tres Hombres play at the Belmore Hotel on March 7 and The Exchange in Newcastle on March 20. For a chance to win a copy of Jesse Fildes’ album, go to facebook南京夜网/JesseFildesMusic.