I really wish that Sound Tribe Sector 9 would come to Boston more often. Or anywhere within a few hundred miles, actually. It was their late nite set at the Berkfest that really convinced me and showed me the magic, after that show I could't get enough of the 9. Anyone that's seen them knows what I'm talking about. If you haven't, go quick you still have time to catch them on the east coast I think.

I had been waiting for this show on Saturday September 29th for quite a while. Unfortunately, I still somehow managed to get there an hour late and miss every song in the first set except for the last before the break. It was pretty packed at the tiny Somerville Theater, an intimate place to see a show. They should have reversed places with the State Theater in Portland Maine the nite before, because that place was about three times as big as the Somerville Theater, and about a third as packed. So we sat there waiting, feeling dejected and pissed off that we were so late for the show. But then I saw Marc Friedman the bassist for The Slip and I knew we were in for a treat.

The lights went down and not only was Marc there but so was Brad Barr, the guitar player of The Slip. Now I was pumped, Brad is a really creative guitarist and I was very curious to see what he could contribute to the mix. The jam started out real nice, with Brad slipping in some quick hits. You could immediately feel Marc's presence on bass, he is extraordinary. I always wonder what it will be like when the 9 brings up a guest player, if he will be able to keep up with their concenration, timing, and intricate layers of sound. It is a very different sound, you have to be an incredible player to keep up with it, but Brad and Marc were definitely up to it. If you haven't heard The Slip, buy a disc and check 'em out. The jam started to heat up and get progressively faster, and then Zach(drums) turned on the techno beats. Zach would just build it up and up and then everyone would explode at the same time somehow, in a large ripple of sound. And then Zach would begin to build it up all over again.

Toward the end of the jam Andrew Barr, younger brother of Brad and third member of The Slip came up and joined Jeff on Percussion. You couldn't really hear anything he was doing, which is a shame because Andrew is a superb drummer and percussionist. The jam finally ended after about a half an hour and the Tribe went into a steady beat and an MC stepped up to the stage to rap some lyrics over the beat. He rhymed for a little while and then they went into a techno beat and he kept up for a little while and then stepped off the stage after the song was over.

Finally it was time for the 9 to really get down, Zach dropped a techno beat and it was on again. Zach Velmer has easily got to be one of the best drummers in the industry, I've never seen anyone's hands move so fast. And the beats he invents are insane. With Zach navigating, the 9 went into a tripped out techno jam. It got real intense and you could feel the waves coming in bursts from the stage. One member would start playing a sound and then another would add to it and so on. As the music climaxed you could feel the audiences reaction to it. Somehow everyone out there felt it at the same time. I really think these guys must be from another planet, the way they create these sounds. It is very hard to describe the 9's music. It is the kind of thing you have to experience to truly understand. Seeing the 9 is like going thru a journey that transcends time and uses energy that the audience gives it to create more energy, builds it all up and up in layers until it explodes in a giant wave of energy rushing right back to the audience. Like I said I can't really explain it, I'm still in shock from the show tonight. I constantly found myself daydreaming and getting lost in the jam.

After what seemed like one jam, but was probably a few songs finally ended, I knew it was all over. I saw a crew member come out on stage, asked my buddy what time it was and figured they were past curfew, whatever it was. Then the bassist said thankyou and goodnite and they left. The Encore was my favorite song of this short night. A track from their latest album Offered Schematics Suggesting Peace. I especially like the riff Hunter comes up with on this one- it is an upbeat catchy tune, worthy of alternative fm radio. Unfortunately it was a short one. Catch the Sound Tribe Sector 9 if you can, cause this band don't come around too often.

Sam Katz
JamBase | Boston
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[Published on: 10/4/01]

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