SOUND TRIBE SECTOR 9 | 10.06 | HOB CHICAGO

Now I’d like to think that I am your ordinary JamBaser, pridefully grazing the excellence embraced by that which we call JamBase. My hope is that everyone, you reading, the friend you recommend this site to, are spreading the music vastly. That on each and every occasion, for any band you choose, you are recommending them to others. Offering an invitation to the freedom that we seek. A journey to depths of nonverbal communication, thoughtful patterns of sound, induced by and inducing the voyagers. Would music be heard if it were played in a forest and no one is around? Impossible! We’d (JamBase that is) be there if it were.

Consider this plea hopeful at best. Most people who visit this site may never read this and may never reminder another of the countless acts touring the nation right now. Acts are being found daily, inspiring every listener not only to continue, but also to convey. Acknowledge power well beyond the physical spectrum. Most of us probably have had the all too common out of body experience on our musical trips. Finding an escape beyond any other known, a fascinating meditation.

Here is where my meditation begins.

Preparation: I feel as though I am working as hard as Sector 9. No I am really KIDDING actually, as I listen to STS9 right now, compliments of sts9.fm and JennyZ, mind you. Quickly enough my thoughts have turned to providing information on this subject, that is Sector 9, indulging deep in my current consciousness about this band, expectations and the enlightenment beyond. Brief background, I see my fair share of shows and leave myself open to my own interpretation. Thanks to this site, I’ve seen probably 20+ of the acts that are consistently on the Top 50 searches (most in Minnesota), plus many more that deserve a fair listener. With that said, I also give kudos to everyone of you that opens themselves to all of the musical options in our world, an infinite amount. Again, now with that said (I promise I won’t say it again), we turn back to the real structure of this symposium, Sector 9. This is where I am dedicated, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Brown, Mr. Phipps, Mr. Lerner and last, but certainly not least (which had to be said for Zach if you are familiar) Mr. Velmer.

My stereo, in car, at home, in mind, is tuned to the area of Sector 9. It is enveloped and embracing the otherworldly sound generated by this sound system (aka band). You know, I sat back and realized I could ramble in preparation endlessly and it reminds me of the “boundaries” (I use quotes because they are non-existent) of this music. Well, it is only Thursday, my bootie is already shaking (it normally is) and I just can’t wait until 9. Seriously, I have almost 600 miles of driving in front of me (before the show and 600 back) and I will savor every minute of it. Tomorrow evening (which would have been days ago now) I pick up Matt and head to the House of Blues in Chicago. At one a.m. on Sunday morning, it will begin, the next step into the 9th dimension. Can’t you feel the anticipation for creation?

Once in Chicago, I began suffering from anxiety, my concentration mainly on Sector 9. As I sat and had a few drinks and food at Harry Carey’s with my good friends, Matt and Kevin, the anxiousness partially subsided. However, I continued to check the time for the take off to Sector 9 was finally near; after waiting since May 26 of this year, the first time I saw 9. Passing over introductions of others that we met and things that we did, we finally entered the House of Blues slightly after midnight. Matt and I camped out at the right center of stage and waited, staring at the beautiful crystals artfully organized on stage. Stage crew soon after, shut the gorgeously hard-crafted sideways-sliding randomly patched curtains (that is as close as I will come to an accurate description).

Briefly, a description for the Chicago House of Blues is in order. Upon first and repeated observations of its external design, it looked like a mushroom or maybe a clam. As you enter it’s spotless and interesting environment, you are greeted by an entrance stage, which this evening was graced by, believe it or not, blues music. Stairs encased both sides of the building all the way up to the mezzanine. There were a handful of people up there this evening, but the bar was not open and most wanted to be on the main dance floor. Beautiful art bled from everywhere, bottlecaps and glue, paint and faces, sculptures and shapes, composed the various décor for the walls and ceilings. Above the stage were mystic and religious symbols, like the virgin Mary holding a guitar (no, I am kidding, it was something like that, I remember looking at it last time, but did not examine it this trip). The words “Unity in Diversity” and “All is One” perfectly described the concept of this musical mecca, but more importantly describe the specific entertainment for the evening, Sector 9. My recommendation to anyone in the vicinity of this place, or planning a trip to Chicago, needs to see a show at the House of Blues. I haven’t been to any others, but am certain this is recommended advice for all of the HOBs.

Not soon enough, but eventually, these fitting curtains crept apart and entered the gentlemen of Sound Tribe Sector 9. There were cheers, but not as loud as what would proceed. Finally, enough was enough, and the tribe began speaking, I wish I could tell you what, but currently I am getting familiar with as many shows as possible; not having concerned myself with remembering many song names. I know they ended the second set with "Baraka" and I think they played "Circus," but right now I don’t care, for me it was the about the energy.

"Movement" began quickly and extensively, you could tell the gentlemen recognized they were (for the past month) the featured artist on www.hob.com. They began confidently, in full understanding expectations were high, enormous in fact. My satisfaction emerged and remained throughout the two-set and encore presentation; that had us exiting HOB at almost five a.m. I could not decipher who was familiar with the music, who was new to it and who wasn’t actually having a fabulous time. There were even people who were listening to some blues on the entrance stage eventually migrating almost to the exact front of Sector 9’s stage. Everyone was moving as though they were home, confined to the simplicity of privacy, yet sharing it with the audience and the band. Heads were bopping, hips were twisting, knees were bending and feet were lifted. We all honestly came up off of the ground and began floating. Not to far off the ground, but somehow, the special effects team called Sound Tribe Sector 9, managed to uplift the crowd so much, our feet lost contact with the floor below. Well, if this actually didn’t happen, don’t tell me, because I wouldn’t agree.

Back to the intricate stylings of Sector 9. These gentlemen are fantastic; happy and focused at being a group of friends making beautiful music. Their intention is just that, live happy and creative positive energy (and share in it) through music. We as fans help spread the love that is Sector 9. We as people of greater causes can share this love and more. As David Murphy (STS9’s bassist) claimed before set break, “We don’t have to ask you how your are feeling, we can feel the positive energy. Now take that positive energy and spread it. Spread it here now with everyone creating it and spread it out into the world.” (not an exact quote, but the jist) This was, and someone I was near made a similar comment, absolutely inspiring. I got the chills when he spoke this way because it was truth. Everyone knew it and most began mingling with nearby friends whom they had never seen before this night. I know that I did. For those of you there that are now reading, I was wearing my Olive JamBase tee, compliments of its wonderful webmaster and beauty, Dee. Also, it was adorned with an American flag pinned over the right breast of my shirt.

The second set and encore that preceded was an endless icing on a cake created during the first half of the journey. My honest opinion tells me no one cared exactly what was being played (by that I mean song names and the pace of the grooves), but rather just thankful for what they had heard and what they were hearing. Possibly now, after close to a day and a half after the show, audience members of this show are engulfed in an intense reflection of what had happened. What many won’t realize is that this reflection does not subside, it rises, becoming a steady focus in your daily life. Where is Sound Tribe? What are they playing? Am I every going to be the same person again? Can that experience be recreated? The answers to all of these questions are: (1) Transcending Time, (2) Messages of Peace, (3) No and (4) Yes.

By the end of this awe-inspiring, intensely created musical event, I was still ready for more. I am ready (and actually listening right now) for next time, which in my case is Saturday, October 13th at the Cabooze in Minneapolis, MN. After the show (five a.m.) Matt drove to Cedar Rapids, IA and then we switched. I then dropped him off in Des Moines, he bid me farewell and thanked me for introducing Sound Tribe (he also said that was on the most incredible music experiences he has had). My drive continued on to Minneapolis, a satisfying six more hours of travel, a time for reflection on this timeless event. All of this said, I conclude my offer of invitation to you, to experience Sound Tribe Sector 9 and embrace its perspicuous energy.

Michael Shearer

[Published on: 10/9/01]

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