Sound Tribe Sector 9 | 03.14.13

sts9 75You could just stare at the screen and zone out while the band oozed perfection into your ears.


Sound Tribe Sector 9 is jam post-rock jam band that relies heavily on electronics. They’ve become most famous for their live performances, and for good reason. The members of STS9 are very talented musicians who clearly take pride in their work, though for dance music, this is probably the most relaxed concert you could find. The air was thick with the dankest of nugs, the dancing was sloppy, and everyone sort of just ambled around with euphoria written across their faces.

The majority of the band’s fan base is a cultish group of nu-ravers who care less about getting trashed and more about “becoming one with the music,” or so it appears. It looked as if the further away from the stage one was, the more potent their “stuff” was. The hippie dances and arm flailing got more and more exotic with every step back.

STS9 came out sounding like pimped-out elevator jazz, but as the show went on, the crowd sank deeper and deeper into a state of total trance. The music grew heavier and funkier, working off of more elaborate back beats and bass lines. There were two drummers, a keyboardist, and a guitarist and bassist who both doubled as keyboardists. The main keyboardist was fantastic and had some of the best solos that were not as appreciated by the audience as they should have been. However, once the musician finished, turned on his wonky synthesizers, and went back to playing simple progressions in the background, the crowd went wild. It’s sad to see good talent go unnoticed. This was not the case for the majority of the show. The crowd was enthusiastic and loyal throughout the performance.

Being that they’re a jam band, many of the songs were up to 10 minutes long and frequently flowed into the next. Normally, I don’t enjoy that style, but STS9 pull it off quite well—the music is passionate and intentional. When I think “jam band,” I normally imagine a band that plays songs, but each member gets an interrupting ten minute pointless solo. That’s not how STS9 rolls. Everything they play is thought out; it may be improvised, but is very well organized. This make for a much more enjoyable listening experience, especially for newcomers.

The music was also accompanied by a dazzling light show that would give any hypnotist an erection. The designs were repetitive, but intentionally so, and quite spectacular to look at. You could just stare at the screen and zone out while the band oozed perfection into your ears. (That sounds a lot dirtier than it’s supposed to be.) Most of the designs made me feel like I was entering the world of Doom. All that was missing was the indecipherable 2D monsters. | Brian Cheli

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