Sometimes I find myself asking, what is a band, the true definition of one? Sound Tribe Sector 9 pushes that definition to the limit. Sector 9 is more of a family, an entity composed of melodic, trance like grooves, which heal and energize. They continue to spread good vibes wherever they are, whether it be in the depths of a large city, or in a beautiful outdoor setting. By placing crystals on stage, and incorporating painting at their shows, everyone becomes instantly involved and the musicians on stage are like the conductors, channeling the energy from the audience and feeding the groove with it.

Sector Nine played an incredible show last night at the Odyssey in Ithaca, NY. Even though it was a Wednesday night, there were a good number of people in attendance. The show started off mellow at first, but soon enough it kicked into high gear and everyone began to dance with energy they may not have known they had before. A somewhat diverse crowd joined together as one and let the vibes flow through them, dancing all in unison to the Space-funk type beats.

Drummer Zach Velmer keeps the energy in high gear with a quite large drum set, which he utilizes to it’s full potential. He does not cease to amaze with the speed and accuracy he shows on a continual basis. It seems that the man never runs out of energy, and it seems to me that his energy is like this fuel that the rest of the band feeds off and interacts with. Bass guitarist David Murphy feeds off of Zach, and vice-versa, thus creating the ultimate drum-n-bass “layer” to the Sound Tribe. A wide variety of cymbals and heavy use of the hi-hat at warp speeds makes for an interesting mood and overall tone of the music. Murphy lays the smooth and heavy bass licks perfectly in-between Zach’s rhythmic and intense drumming.

While Velmer will keep your feet moving fiercely on the ground, Hunter Brown takes your mind into outer space with his smooth flowing grooves. His riffs are just another “layer” of this entity that somehow all comes together as one. He toys with different tones and syncopations like it’s nobody’s business, all while somehow keeping cool and mellow. He feels the energy and the vibe and just goes with it. To his right, Dave Phipps cranks on the organs, intermingling that spacy groove taking to yet another level. They go back and forth taking the leads, as Zach Velmer constantly keeping the bass drum pumpin’.

The final layer, which brings it all together and completes the circle, is Jeffree Lerner on the percussion set. He chimes in at the most opportune moments and completes the jam bringing it to yet another level. Amazingly, he keeps up with Zach’s machine-gun speed, rounding out the sound perfectly. No vocals are needed with these guys, their musical talents rise above that plane and into a new dimension. Somehow they incorporate melodic tones interwoven with the powerful drum-n-bass sounds that keep you dancing all night. Aside from the incredible musical talents they have, the crew certainly does an incredible job with the lights, using methods of computer-generated projections on the ceilings and walls. They have an artist on hand, doing paintings with the music and contributing to the overall vibe. Everyone is a participant, and nobody is excluded because everyone is welcomed into the Sound Tribe Sector Nine Family.

Sound Tribe Sector Nine is currently on tour right now, and could be coming to a city near you. I highly recommend checking these guys out, they keep the energy level high and you probably will not be able to contain yourself from dancing the night away. No single band member really stands out over any of the rest. They all tend to come together and form a collective entity, one could possibly define it as a 'tribe'. Whether its down the street, in a neighboring city, or in another state, you can be guaranteed a show that will not dissapoint.

Words and Photos by Ian Stone
JamBase | Up In New York State
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[Published on: 9/29/01]

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