How many times have you dreaded having to go to the school gym, its hot, noisy, and there is always something better to do right? Last Thursday the students at NorthWestern University in Chicago found this to be just what the Dr. ordered as MMW and Sound Tribe Sector 9 helped them bring in the end of the semester.

As Sound Tribe Sector 9 took the stage the gym was still very much empty, with many of the students seeming to be milling about outside enjoying the warmth of a test free day. From what I overheard not many people were aware that there was an opening act... and even fewer seemed to know who STS9 was as this was only their 2nd trip to Chicago. Some seemed intrigued, others upset that some “other” band would cut into the time MMW had to play, as this was, after all, a MMW show.

The 9 started off slowly with a newer, and still un-named, song that slowly builds with a nonchalant yet steady tempo, so gradually that I start dancing without even noticing it until the song wraps up at the end. Those of us whom had experienced the way this band can work that kind of magic upon a crowd smiled, as the rest of the audience went silent with blissful focus and awe. Next came a beautiful version of "Grow" where the boys started to really loosen up and get down. Hunter Brown has really stepped up in recent months and this song is defiantly one that showcases his dynamic skills.

The crowd seemed to sway with the rhythms being created in the room, as it finally started to become dark enough for the visual stimulation to begin. Saxton’s lights seemed to darken with the tone of the third song, "Favorite Melody," and begin to command attention while Kris’s projections took shape upon the odd-shaped backdrop and captivate the room. It all seemed to really come together for the boys during this song, which to me is the type of musical journey similar to Pink Floyd's Echos. Where I stood at the back of the room provided me with a clear image of the full interaction of energies between the stage and those in the crowd. The amount of unchallenged energies contained within that room is something only those there will ever truly understand. Looking at the crowd it was very hard for me to believe that less then an hour ago most of the room had never heard this band.

About the time they blended seamlessly into "Ramone and Emiglio" more of the MMW crowd started to filter in, with looks of utter astonishment plastered upon their faces. I expected to hear more talking, maybe people would stop dancing and greet friends, but this was not the case at all. I don’t think I will ever get over the amazement I have for the way this band can command the audiences' whole focus while playing. It is something I have seen other bands accomplish for a few moments during a “power set,” but never for the entire time they are onstage like the Nuevo. The way this "Ramone" hits showcased to a whole new audience once again just what a cohesive unit they become onstage and demanded full attention of your senses. There is no true rhythm section; it’s all a revolving part of their instrumental approach to music with no permanent anything, and it’s SICK! Afterward Dave Murphy thanked the crowd and acknowledged how honored and happy they were to be there with MMW as the whole band glowed like kids at the circus, which is what they decided to end the set with. "Circus" is a beautiful tune, which is hard to not find uplifting, and was a great way to say “until next time.”

They came, they saw, they kicked ass yet again. Thanks again to the Tribe and extended family for making it all not only happen, but also kick ass, yet again for me! Watch for dates and reviews on JamBase. And as always you can find; news, photos, tape offers, etc. at or

Bob Wiely

[Published on: 5/28/01]

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