The next time you drive from Northern California into Oregon, make sure you have a good free day and rock up the coast along 101. The left coast of this country is quite epic! You can feel the history of coastal storms and earthquakes making a dramatic scene of forests on cliffs about a mile high with rocky masses scattered off shore.
After spending a day in Eugene on Thursday afternoon complimented by a scrumpsciously healthy dinner we were ready for another night of 9. Thursday night's show was at the Wild Duck Music Hall and was being hosted by the local crew of Silver People Presents. These folks sure know how to throw a party - if ever you are travelling through Eugene, you really should find out if there is a Silver People event going on. Pick up a Eugene Weekly and look for their ad or visit their website to find out about upcoming events. There is nothing like heading through a town for the first time yet still feeling at home. And let me tell you about the room! The Duck is this incredibly roomie yet intimate music hall that can house about 400 people and it has, sit down folks, 9 DISCO BALLS! This fascinated me upon entrance to the room as these orbs were positioned to appear like a solar system - I couldn't wait for light to shine on them!
Before the show, I was able to speak with drummer Zach Velmer for a few minutes about the music of Sound Tribe Sector 9. The band started out with Zach, guitarist Hunter Brown, and bassist Dave Murphy. Keyboardist Dave Phipps and percussionist Jeffree Lerner joined later on as the band was getting ready to take their first shot at touring in 1999. After seeing a few shows this week, I've been giving more thought to the individual songs and was wondering about the creation process. Zach informed me that most their music is basically a collaboration between all of them and that they have all been writing the new songs. They would just play together and lock in on something that works. STS9 has about 14 new songs in their repertoire since the fall.
The night began with singer/guitarist Brandy Vaughan, a member of the tribe. At this time, Brandy performs exclusively with the Sound Tribe. Her gorgeous voice and soft manner offer a welcomed female energy to the event. Her words are timeless and the melody is mesmerizing. The fellas up in the soundbooth washed her in this dreamy purple light and as she sang the words "inhabiting the circle of eternity," you are pulled in to her music.
"Ramone and Emiglio" started off the first set with a nice dance groove to set the mood. Once settled in, I could hear the beginning notes of "Circus" which came in like a dream. I could faintly see the cars on the train as they made their way into town bringing color, adventure, excitement... The play between Hunter and Phipps bring big smiles to my face as they loop this friendly tune around each other like acrobats in the sky above you. This song simply offers the sensation of hope. The rest of the first set was solid with a mesmerizing "Favorite Melody," a "Kamuay" of such hugeness and a "Blue Mood" with an ending that left my mouth agape.
The second set began with a "Surreality" > "EB" followed by a reggae inspired "King Pharoah." Percussionist Jeffree Lerner has this new toy that can make him sound like he's playing steel drums - pretty cool! Well, if you came to The Duck to get down, then "Dance" > "Inspire Strikes Back" was for you. "ISB" is one of the "big" songs, I would have to say, right along with "Moonsockets" and "T.W.E.L.V.E." The next tune, "Que Es Amore?," has a completely different vibe than it's ancestor, "What Is Love?" This dance hall tune closed the show and the crowd wanted more. STS9 came back out for a "Horn Again" which had such beauty. The last dance in this great Music Hall was a feeling to be cherished.
Yes, Sound Tribe Sector 9 has done it again. I am moved by the performance and I'm ready as ever for another show. The Silver People really have a great thing going in Eugene. Check out their upcoming events which includes Friday's co-present with Segue Productions in Portland.
STS9 | April 5,2001
Wild Duck Music Hall | Eugene, OR
Set I: Ramone & Emiglio, Circus, Favorite Melody, Kamuay, Blue Mood
Set II: Surreality > EB, King Pharaoh, Dance/ISB, Que Es Amore?
E: Horn Again