STS9/Bassnectar | 08.16.08 | Berkeley

Words by: Anni M. Svilar | Images by: Dave Vann

Sound Tribe Sector 9/Bassnectar :: 08.16.08 :: Greek Theatre :: Berkeley, CA

STS9 :: 08.16 :: Berkeley, CA
As musicians, Sound Tribe Sector 9 and Bassnectar are both obsessed with sound. They have made careers out of live instruments mixed with sounds a computer can make, or a drum and a scratched record, all aided by a big sound system. The people who follow them are their sound chasers; loyal in a cultish jam band sort of way. I have a friend who literally hurts his head from shaking it too hard at every Bassnectar show. Saturday night, the show was a sandwich, with STS9 headlining and Bassnectar holding down the set break at Berkeley's Greek Theatre.

STS9 has been doing their thang since 1998. They were the ones toying with computers and electronic music long before it was the dime a dozen thing it is today. I hear that this will be Bassnectar's (Lorin Ashton) eleventh time at Burning Man. When I first saw STS9 they had enormous crystals lining the stage; I had one in my pocket - we were studying the Mayan Calendar right along with them. At The Greek Saturday night, there was none of that. I read an interview where STS9 percussionist Jeffree Lerner is quoted saying that computers are the new crystals. Times obviously change.

STS9 and Bassnectar both tap into what's happening now in their respective scenes. The scenes themselves keep attracting young followers because both crews utilize current trends and ground-breaking gear. Tech-smart STS9 already has Saturday's show available for download online. Neither act is satisfied playing what they know works; both venture and both get criticized for that venturing. I respect that. That's called being an artist.

Brown & Lerner :: STS9 :: 08.16 :: Berkeley, CA
At this show, STS9 had texture. Their new album, Peaceblaster (review here), brings a much needed edge to their music. Under the powerful August full moon, there were differing opinions all around me. Some people seemed to be having the time of their life, others were caught up in the fact that for Tribe's first set and Bassnectar's portion, the show wasn't loud enough. Agreed, but even still, I was dancing.

Sound Tribe Sector 9 is Lerner, David Murphy (bass), Hunter Brown (guitar), David Phipps (keyboards) and Zach Velmer (drums). The Tribe's thing is to move musically as one cohesive unit. They can share their toys in the sandbox, it's a fair set-up – almost everyone has a computer to play with, all members take an equal amount of solos. They are serious and experienced enough musicians to throw even the un-intoxicated portion of the audience out of their minds if they want to. Their light show is phenomenal; including lightning strips of white, then firefly green strings, followed by rainbows of colors flashing before your eyes. There were certainly euphoric moments, especially during the second set when the momentum picked up. Highlights included the harder driving "The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature" and "Peaceblaster '68" into "Peaceblaster '08".

What went missing Saturday night was collaboration. Saturday would have been a perfect night for Bassnectar and STS9 to play together, and many of us were hoping they would. Bassnectar's big sounds and high energy would've been a nice compliment to STS9 and I think could've brought the show to a higher level.

Bassnectar :: 08.16 :: Berkeley, CA
Lorin Ashton is also hands-down my favorite DJ to watch perform. Nobody wanted him to leave the stage when set break was over. He was asked twice by security to end his set. Bassnectar is a mix-up of musical tastes, but also a performance and spectacle. Starting with two local guest MCs, Seasonz and Kyrian (whose hat consisted of a woman's thong), he opened with a stomp and clap that is reminiscent of cheers from audiences on bleachers at a high school football game. A three-piece screen flashed shots of what looked like people from the 1940s doing the running man, merging into classic images from well-known commercials that have left their impression on pop culture, such as a Dove commercial when in a little over a minute an otherwise normal looking woman is turned into a model. What these images were trying to say to us Saturday night is left up for interpretation, but so is any Bassnectar show, where he gives the audience a plethora of sounds along with visual kaleidoscopes and sometimes unexpected guests or strange throwback surprises like light hints of what sounded like a mixed up Nine Inch Nails track.

Whether his Samson hair is pulled back in a bun or waving for Delilah, Bassnectar brings energy to every performance. He is a good example of what a DJ should be - he sings along, he visibly counts beats, he is having as much fun up there as you are in the stands. The man moves, moves, moves, and his music is a hybrid containing anything from jazz, old school hip-hop, electronica, dub, mid-tempo electronica, big emotions, people's voices, mashing beats and swing. He is that long haired hippie, that hard artist, a big brother, an average guy sitting next to you in class, a magician and a mind controller, all at the same time. What Bassnectar has cultivated is an underground scene that is huge and, at this point, well known, but at the same time, he's maintained the pulse and coolness of a cult scene that still feels hidden.

A good testament to any show is to look around the crowd afterwards and note the number of smiles, dazed looks, and sweat – this show had all that. Sound Tribe Sector 9 is at the beginning of their West Coast tour (dates available here) and Bassnectar is at the beginning of his national tour (dates here) playing with different meshes of folks across the country. It will prove to be a worthwhile circus of sound wherever they go.

Sound Tribe Sector 9 :: 08.16.08 :: Berkeley, CA
Set One: Metameme, Aimlessly > Surreality > EB > Aimlessly, Beyond Right Now > Luma Daylight, Be Nice, Shock Doctrine
Set Two: Empires, New Soma, Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist, Rent, The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature, Once A Day, Peaceblaster '68 > Peaceblaster '08, Inspire Strikes Back
Encore: EHM

Watch our interview with STS9 on JamBaseTV.

And check out JamBase's recent exclusive feature/interview with STS9 here.

Continue reading for more images from The Greek ...

Prefuse 73
Zach Velmer - STS9
David Phipps - STS9
Bassnectar Fans
J Garcia & Kris D
Hunter Brown - STS9
David Murphy - STS9

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jordonimo Wed 8/20/2008 01:27PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i like the GQ look on murph

Lord-K. Wed 8/20/2008 01:30PM
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Great pics...lackluster review I think everyone here already knows who the bands was the show besides not loud enough?

jordonimo Wed 8/20/2008 01:35PM
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bluntsnbisco, you are such a douschebag i can't even begin to describe it. if i met you, i'd like to head but you but some of your sleaze would inevitably get on me

AZ~*Droo* Wed 8/20/2008 01:39PM
Show -4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
LBSCATL Wed 8/20/2008 01:44PM
Show -4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
Lord-K. Wed 8/20/2008 01:49PM
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Bluntsnbisco..Please update your profile so we know who your favorite bands are I yearn to attain the level of musical genius that you have attained. The generic outlay of your profile makes you not only further degrades your pointless posts on the boards but also further solidifies them as the most bage human being to ever grace the earth.

AZ~*Droo* Wed 8/20/2008 01:51PM
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"level of musical genius"

BWAHAHAHA!!! his name has bisco in it. that should say it all.

sven2388 Wed 8/20/2008 01:52PM
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the reviewer said assnectar was his favorite dj. i stopped reading there

jordonimo Wed 8/20/2008 02:05PM
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judging from bluntsnbisco's comment that was deleted from the article regarding Robyn Rubinstein, i'd say he's not even human. he probably crawled out of the ground like the troll he is

AZ~*Droo* Wed 8/20/2008 02:07PM
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"the reviewer said assnectar was his favorite dj..."

he said that lorin was his fav to WATCH! who's your favorite dj sven?

Bowlegged Texan Wed 8/20/2008 02:16PM
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Bowlegged Texan

If it were up to blunts there would be no music except bisco. I would then join the rest of the world in blowing my fucking brains out.

Funkmobster star Wed 8/20/2008 02:21PM
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Do they let anyone write reviews for this site?

No mention of Prefuse 73 (the producer who is a HUGE inspirtation to both STS9 & Bassnectar) who PLAYED at the show. No mention of the first time ever artist collaboration of MARS-1, J. GARCIA, & KRIS D.

This site is a joke.

Sidenote, Dave Vann takes amazing photos. At least you have that going for you.

RothburyWithCheese star Wed 8/20/2008 02:44PM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
Greatwaves Wed 8/20/2008 02:47PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


im not suprised about the no collaberations, they (StS9) did a a whole tour with Umphreys and collaberated once!!!!!!!! come on now they dont play with others often

Ointment Wed 8/20/2008 02:48PM
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everyone should stop commenting on blunts comments, he just likes the attention.

BansheeBeat starstarstarstarstar Wed 8/20/2008 02:48PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



NickBoeka starstarstarstar Wed 8/20/2008 02:55PM
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This night was good, but the night before at the Independent, killed it! That first set was absolute pure H-E-A-T! There should definitely have been some attention on that show, not quite sure why it didn't get covered here, even though I threw an email a few weeks ago, offering one up. Oh well, there's plenty of the 9 on this site now anyways, and im sure in a couple of weekends, we'll see the Red Rocks review too....

blower starstarstarstar Wed 8/20/2008 02:58PM
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Pretty damn good show. Sound was good. The bass came through well. Perfect weather and great crowd. Very pleasantly suprise.

jalew Wed 8/20/2008 03:05PM
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I have to agree with Nick. The heat last weekend was at the Indy. The Greek was a lot of fun and there were some great moments but Friday night was the haps.

I also have to agree with Funkmobster. It would have been nice to read a review of the whole show, including that amazing art collaboration, but thanks for the review and the pics.

ClaysTribe starstarstar Wed 8/20/2008 04:20PM
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that god damn bassnectar was way to hyphy, it was just ridiculous, i felt it made tribe get hyphy too, whatever that means, it got out of hand very quick with the glow sticks and drugas and all, but other wise, it was sorta fun.

1048 star Wed 8/20/2008 04:21PM
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This article sucks on many levels. Your seriously gonna talk about Bassnectar that much and not mention Prefuse at all? Seriously? Seriously? If Jambase knows nothing about Dj's then they shouldn't try doing articles or reviews on them.

"I read an interview where STS9 percussionist Jeffree Lerner is quoted saying that computers are the new crystals."

My god Jeffree needs to get his head of his ass.

Mr_McDankenstein Wed 8/20/2008 04:54PM
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Yeah that show was hyphy as it gets. Bassnectar was straight up not good and I am still confused with how everyone was dancing so much

upsidedownzoe starstarstarstarstar Wed 8/20/2008 05:09PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


do any of you actually read? this is review is not only compelling, it is honest and well written. it goes beyond the brain-dead play-by-play " review " style of lesser writer's who riff about shit they don't know in attempts to earn chops in the music industry or kiss ass to some musician or musician's fan base. just like the show she was reviewing, this writer works outside of the norm and pushes her form beyond the given to do her best to offer readers an authentic account of, not only the show itself, but a broader scope of the group and how they place themselves within a broader context. to all of you trying so hard to be music snobs, lay off... this review introduces STS9 and Bassnector to readers of all sorts. and it's a SHE sven...and if you hate bassnector, then don't bothering commenting on a review of it.

NickBoeka Wed 8/20/2008 06:10PM
+5 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Some additional comments to add to this review: Prefuse starting things off real nice on Saturday. It's hard at a venue this size to be the opener, because despite everyone knowing about the early start and finish times at the Greek, most people didn't show up until Sector 9 had actually started. Prefuse came out throwing a mix of mostly older material, and having found his groove about half way through his set, it was obvious that he needed a lot more time.

The thing that threw most people for a loop I think was Sector 9 doing a set, BEFORE bassnectar came up. A lot of people around me were actually pissed off as Prefuse left the stage, becuase they didn't appear to be bringing any setup for Lorin. What ended up happening though, is that his rig was already setup on the GROUND, right at the lip of the stage. He prefers to be in the thick of it, and since I doubt he got clearance to get a grip of people on stage with him, he brought himself to the people (a la Girl Talk, though not in the middle of the floor).

Sector 9's first set on Saturday I think was better than the second set. The same I think applied for the night before at the Indy. The new songs from turdblaster sound really tight, despite moving more in a glitch direction with their sound. There definitely is a move away from the instrumentation, and more of an emphasis on layering and sounds.

Phipps was simply, off the hook, the entire weekend. It's amazing that not more props go out to this guy, because he is, without question, the man behind most of the sonic elements being delivered. To watch him, is to watch an artist completely in the zone and constantly pushing himself more and more towards perfection. Not paying attention to the crowd really helps him stay focused, and lord knows that with that rig, he's got plenty of toys to keep him busy.

Anyone hit up the aftershow with Pretty Lights and Pnuma? I had to bounce back to the city, and was bummed to have to skip it, cause I'm sure that Pretty Lights worked that shit.

onthemoon Wed 8/20/2008 06:51PM
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i dig that they're evolving their sound and whatnot but last night as i was listening to seasons 01 it hit me just how uninteresting their current music is to me.

sideslide starstarstarstar Wed 8/20/2008 07:02PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Good review! Haven't seen Bassnectar, but I guess I should...Funkmobster? Seriously? "This site is a joke"? You've been a member since 2003 and are still commenting on articles (for 5 years) on a site you think is a joke? Your integrity and judgment are beyond questionable.

willydog Wed 8/20/2008 08:27PM
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Listen...nice work for moving the thread off of bashing this bluntbisco dillhole. Let's all agree not to let him get a rise, that's all he wants.

JonKron starstarstar Wed 8/20/2008 10:08PM
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A few things to chew on (1) STS9 takes usually takes 6-8 months for a song to evolve into something worth being in their setlist. (2) Peaceblaster is mostly brand new material - give it time (3) Artifact was stripped down versions of mostly existing songs (4) all the brand new shit was actually MUCH, MUCH, better than anticipated- I really like it in fact (5) newer shit from both nights (and i am including songs up to 18 months old (newer sounding- Be Nice, Rent, One A Day, Un?able, Tooth) are now becoming the anchors everyone craves(6) older songs with new wrappers on them are sounding better than ever (Luma, Aim Sando around Surr/EB, R&E, F.Word)(7)older songs played straight up -even some of my favorites, are starting to sound too familiar and flat (Mischief from Friday comes to mind)(8) consensus in our crew thought Friday had some great highs but Saturday was a better show (9) the band evolves why can't it's fans - weird (10) not a huge Bassnectar fan- he f'king KILLED it - anyone got a copy? (11) uncontested MVP of the weekend goes to ARIGATO - best version I've heard to date

lemak91 Wed 8/20/2008 10:16PM
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okay i love sts9 and bassnectar so much you dont under stand and i love the disco biscuits but bluntsnbisco just completes me want to loose respects for the disco biscuits. everything i read on here from him is complete bull shit. hes such a fucking douche

Justin Gillett Thu 8/21/2008 12:55AM
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Justin Gillett

They'd better bust out some crazy shit at Red Rocks!!!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/21/2008 06:07AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

nice to see alot of segues here.

not just plain jane. u know. :P

phanatic2 starstarstarstarstar Thu 8/21/2008 08:04AM
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Ok the bluntsandcrisco guy is just on here making queerbag comments because he is tryig to piss people off. I guarantee he is unemployed, lives in his moms basement, beats off to pics of Jon Bon Jovi, ....somehow he found jambase as a way to try and reach people because of his antisocial tendencies do not allow him to reach out to "non-cyber" people. Try being a dueschbag at a show, he may NOT get beaten up by a bunch of hippies, but we may dump our beers on you!

DibS Thu 8/21/2008 10:44AM
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So besides all the gay bickering between snobs, The reviewer didnt even mention Prefuse 73!??!?! Guillermo is so sick. The entire article should be ommitted considering he didnt even mention the dude who inspired both of these acts to become what they are today.

Rainking04 Thu 8/21/2008 01:59PM
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okay i was going to post something on here about the review but then i read through the comments and decided to shoot myself instead...goodbye cruel world, thanks a lot jambase

kidadam starstarstar Thu 8/21/2008 02:31PM
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Baassnectar and tribe play together? No thats not gonna happen. Maybe in '00 but not today. Tell Me about the ACTUAL SHOW goofball!

louie1827 Fri 8/22/2008 07:06AM
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it would appear that the reviewer did not get to the show in time to see prefuse.

uncljohnsband5 Fri 8/22/2008 10:19AM
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wow, the internet is really something that people can use just to bitch, i think im doing the same by writing this, sts9 and bassnectar kick ass, thanks jonkron for writing a book instead of a comment, how do u find time in ur day to write a novel?

boxofrain Fri 8/22/2008 10:22AM
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STS9 and Prefuse 73 are dope but Assnectar sucks bad!!!

Funkmobster star Fri 8/22/2008 02:16PM
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"Good review! Haven't seen Bassnectar, but I guess I should...Funkmobster? Seriously? "This site is a joke"? You've been a member since 2003 and are still commenting on articles (for 5 years) on a site you think is a joke? Your integrity and judgment are beyond questionable."

You obviously know nothing about most of the acts that played. Letting some burner write a review about show and simply fluffing bassnectar for 2/3s of it is beyond horrible. She missed 90% of what happened that weekend. She failied to mention the independent show, the pre party with DJ Rootz & Kap10 at Madrone, the after party with Pnuma, Pretty Lights, KJ Swaka, & James Christoper at Shattuck Down Low, completely not commenting on Prefuse 73, and no mention of the visual artists does not make this look like a well thought out and educated review. If you are going to cover an event, you should cover it fully. It's a shame such a bad review was written because this story had serious potential to be quite interesting.

Funkmobster Fri 8/22/2008 02:17PM
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And yes, if Jambase is actually publishing this (which they did), then it reflects very poorly on the journalistic intergrity of the site, hence making it a joke.

RainbowBucketLovesYou Sun 8/24/2008 08:04PM
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Whatever bassnectar is or plays is the opposite of good music. I just sat there dumbfounded as to why STS9's first set wasn't as bumpin as it could have been and then why bassnectar played in the middle of STS9's sets. It basically just got me pissed off. Rent was great though...non stop dancing for that one.

Jeff Kash Sat 8/30/2008 09:18PM
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Jeff Kash

STS9 is sick... Bassnectar's music sounds like someone wiping their ass with a microphone.