Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) | 3.20.10

Just show up, tune out and enjoy yourself. Psychadelics optional.


STS9 with The Flying Skulls

The Pageant 3/20/10

It’s all in the family with STS9, the instrumental group known for their spacey electro-jams and dazzling light shows. They’ve been featuring opening acts from their new 1320 Records imprint throughout their 2010 tour and the second of their two-night stand at the Pageant got off to a booming start with their label mates Flying Skulls. Actually, the night started with security removing a fan from the venue that had apparently ingested more recreational pharmaceuticals than he could handle. Poor dude drove all that way and missed the whole show. Know your limits, kids!

But I digress.

The musical portion of the night’s entertainment began with a quartet of scruffy-looking fellows poking, prodding and otherwise tweaking a wide array of electronic gizmos at the front of the stage. Known as The Flying Skulls, the foursome quickly settled into a pseudo hip-hop groove with enough booming bass to force involuntary bowel evacuations and the crowd bobbed along with them, gradually increasing in numbers until they filled the Pageant to near capacity. After an hour of creating live boom-bap frippery, the ‘Skulls relinquished the stage to the headliners—STS9.

Taking the stage in near total darkness, bassist Murph greeted the crowd while his band mates took their places amongst a massive pile of instruments and stage risers. Moments later, the venue was awash in swirling colored lights, swooshing electronic sounds and lots of dudes in Mexican ponchos making strange hand movements while dancing. I’ve always been intrigued at how this instrumental band has cultivated a sizable fan base while progressively making their music less and less mainstream, but trust me when I say that they are definitely doing something right. The place was packed and in constant motion the entire night.

I admit that I’m a relative newbie when it comes to STS9’s music but I can tell you that very little of the evening’s material came from their latest release, Ad Explorata. This hunch was confirmed by a couple of fans who graciously provided me with set lists showing that the band was pulling heavily from its back catalog. My attempts to discern one piece from another were further exacerbated by STS9’s tendency to segue from one piece to another, but I must say that it only added to the orchestral effect of their sound.

After digesting the band’s two hours of visual spectacle and sonic tapestry of live instruments, waves of synthesizer and various electronic bleeps and bloops I’ve realized that STS9’s appeal lies in the fact that is not a traditional Big Rock Concert at all. There are no lyrics. There is no front man. The band is lit entirely from behind, so you can barely tell who is doing what. Succumbing to the wave of audio/video stimuli is what it’s all about. Just show up, tune out and enjoy yourself. Psychadelics optional. | Corey Woodruff

Set list (thanks, oceanch1ld):

set I: Inspire Strikes Back, Shock Doctrine, F. Word, Kamuy, Luma Daylight, Crystal Instrument, One A Day, Heavy

set II: HHHF, Wika Chikana, Aimlessly, Ramone & Emiglio, ABCees
encore: Trinocular>Vibyl, Atlas

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