Words by: Zack Sampsel | Images by: Daniel Kokin
Sound Tribe Sector 9 Live PA :: 12.13.08 :: Club 6 :: San Francisco, CA
With a 2 a.m. start time and a crowd already glistening in sweat from the previous night's performances, members of Sound Tribe Sector 9 took to the stage for a Live PA set at ArtNowSF's monthly Veni Vidi Vici party and dropped a set of laptop-friendly tracks that showed the crowd where this quintet is headed.
|STS9 Live PA :: 12.13 :: San Francisco|
This past summer marked the debut of STS9's latest album Peaceblaster (read the review here), and with it came a huge, co-headlining tour with Umphrey's McGee and a slew of new material ready to be road tested. But for STS9, sometimes the confines of a sold out venue filled with thousands of screaming masses isn't necessarily conducive to heavy exploration of newer material, which is where the Live PA sets serve a greater purpose.
As a full band, there is no way even a scaled down version of STS9 and all their gear could have fit into the sweaty, dank confines of the Club 6 basement, but by performing a Live PA set, meaning all the music is created and played through drum machines, laptops and midi synthesizers, STS9 is able to perform in places they normally could not. As well, the nonstop format of the music during the PA sets allows them to go in-depth on the ambient transitions that surfaced during their fall tour.
Saturday night's set featured only four STS9 members, with percussionist Jeffree Lerner sitting the event out, but that didn't stop David Phipps (keyboards), David Murphy (bass), Hunter Brown (guitar) and Zach Velmer (drums) from putting on a two-hour exploration of the band's latest material.
Opening their set with "The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature," a Bay Area favorite, it was apparent they were going straight for the jugular. As the squealing highs of "Unquestionable" drew to a close, Phipps and his Axiom 25 Key controller took over as they slid into a mash-up of "Economic Hitman" and Young Joc's "It's Goin' Down," which whipped the crowd into a frenzy as the sounds of dubstep and hip-hop came together to form a thumping symbiosis.
"New New 4 U U," which debuted during the fall tour, followed "Economic Hitman" and gave the crowd its first taste of what the quintet was capable of as the track stretched upward of 10 minutes with Phipps dancing around his keyboard while twisting minds and tempos. But the set really hit stride as the band charged into a remixed version of "Bigs" that barely resembled its full band counterpart.
|STS9 Live PA :: 12.13|
The improv and on-the-fly remixing continued as the band dropped a chopped up version of "Metameme" no one had heard before. As the soothing, female voice samples from the song drifted away, the haunting tones of "The Rabble" emerged from the glitchy rubble. Just as the reworked version of this crowd favorite reached its peak, the voice of Outkast's Big Boi came through the speakers as Phipps and friends began mixing "The Rabble" with the Outkast's "Royal Flush," which made the floor shake with excitement.
Following a massively extended, spooky version of "Against The Grain Pt. 2," the hip-hop meets reggae vibes of "Abcees" came pounding through the speakers as Phipps and Murphy tinkered in the ambient spaces of the song while Velmer organized the sounds in grand fashion.
The final hour of the set began with "Shock Doctrine" from Peaceblaster, and found the foursome weaving in and out of the composed parts while Phipps fooled around with a number of sounds and effects reminiscent of L.A. Beatsmith Flying Lotus.
As the set drew to a close, a reworked version of "The New Soma" brought the energy in the room back up as STS9 once again explored the ambient spaces within its newer material, layering escalating harmonics with dream-like tones to bridge into a reworked version of "The Spectacle." "Tooth" followed, which had the crowd dancing in unison to its hypnotic tones.
With last call for drinks but a distant memory, STS9 had one more track left as Murphy cued up Ludacris' "One More Drink," paying homage to an evening that left the San Francisco audience wanting more and wiping sweat from their brows.
For STS9 fans in Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and New York there is plenty more PA fun to be had in January on the band's upcoming Live PA tour.
STS9 Live PA Tour Dates
01.25.09 - Aggie Theatre - Fort Collins, CO
01.26.09 - Bluebird Theater - Denver, CO
01.27.09 - Fox Theatre - Boulder, CO
01.29.09 - The Paradise - Boston, MA
01.30.09 - The Note - West Chester, PA
01.31.09 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
Check out our exclusive feature/interview on STS9 here and be sure to peep our video interview with the Tribe on JamBaseTV.
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