Where do I begin? Words are not appropriate for the revelations that unfolded at the The Fillmore in San Francisco this past weekend. It was far more than another show, much deeper than another party, it was a journey through the Mayan netherworld, a trip into space taking us both back in time, and forward in life.

Just as the maturation period for a fetus is 9 months, that is how long Sound Tribe Sector 9 took to come back to the Fillmore. And upon their return, we have learned that they have transformed, giving birth to yet another entity. Now this is not to say that the Sound Tribe's performance at The Fillmore 9 months ago in early February was sub-par. On the contrary, the shows were phenomenal. But after Saturday night's space exploration, nothing could compare.

I could sit here and list off the songs they played, comment on the lightning fast fist work of Zach Velmer on drums, or the bumping, deep violet bass work of Dave Murphy, but this is not what it is all about. The magic was found in the ENTIRE experience. Not a single note, not a particular song, but the overall VIBE. The Tribe came back to the Bay overflowing with love, confidence, and devotion. Devotion to showing us that there is more to the world than what exists on the surface. They bring us a taste of unadulterated joy, they truly come with a peace offering.

It is my belief that if the world could step back, listen with open ears, and allow the music to seep deep within each and every individual soul, we would have a chance at evolution. I’m not being cute and I’m not exaggerating. Look at the big picture; everyone is running around, chasing dollars, stepping on each other’s toes, grubbing for power. Now look at Sector 9; tranquil tapestries of sound blending into funked-out, sweaty dance beats. No one in the band searches out the limelight, no one needs to be the star, they want to cast their enlightened spell of love over the crowd.

The weekend of November 2nd and 3rd progressed just as a gifted child might. Starting on Friday with obvious talent, seamless transitions, and a knack for what to show first. As the opening night slid forward in a liquid manner, the 9 child left pieces of knowledge on the doorsteps of the mind. These lessons of life were not strewn across the room, or shoved into the face of the listener, they were softly placed where it could be cultivated and appreciated. And whether the recipients were cognizant or not, they were receiving necessary messages for the improvement of our world.

Leaving The Fillmore after the first night, the Sound Tribe had laid the ground work for their masterpiece. Though allowing enough genius to seep out so that no one could bare to miss the second journey, they didn't yet show all of their cards. Taking notice of the elaborate stage set up prior to night two of Sector 9 it became obvious that these medicine men are intricately tied to the inner workings of our mother earth. With a shrine devoted to mystical crystals, candles and life giving plants arranged in every conceivable nook, nothing was left to chance. The setting was equipped with glass vases and giant sunflowers opening up to the audience, and thus it was clear that this was not a concert or show... it’s an experience.

And what an experience it would be. Again words will not do justice to what I witnessed Saturday night. Still, days later, I am having trouble wrapping my brain around what I was a part of. In the hundreds and hundreds of shows I have seen, I have never seen anything quite like what Sector 9 brought to The Fillmore that second evening.

As I continue to use the metaphor of a child to describe the Sound Tribe, this maturing prodigy came to the second half of the weekend with something that needed to be expressed. Perhaps he is now a teenager, full of energy, and inspiration, shining his light onto the crowd. As the first set walked us through a healing process, we found more and more to identify with in this youngster. We learned that this being is seeing the possibilities of the talent he possesses and that limits only exist in our minds. The child is stepping outside of personal endeavours and realizing that perhaps he is not simply another person, perhaps this child has been given THE GIFT. The gift to heal, to lead, to save.

By the time the second set was in full swing, the adolecent was in his early twenties. Crafting his God given talent, taking it to the next level, and Sector 9 took us with them. We all crowded onto the spaceship, and we all viewed the world through the eyes of this gifted wonder being. We learned of a different reality, we saw the future, and felt the past. We saw through races, religions, and laws. We began to lose the rules we have learned, and saw the world as it could be. We received the Baraka, and we will never be the same.

I could go on and on about my experience with Sector 9 Saturday night, but don’t just take my word for it, listen to the words of other travelers who stepped onto the 9’s spaceship, the feelings are mutual, we all evolved on that special night in San Francisco.

"I like to think that 800 million years ago, or maybe several hundred light years from where our planet hangs in space, there are sounds, patterns, and aural evidence of the creation of matter in space. STS9 seems to somehow know about these sounds and patterns and they manifest themselves during STS9's performances. Now, what I am trying to get at is that when Sector 9 collaborates, there appears to be a unique and extraordinary sense that the magnitude and significance of their musical creation is akin to the magnitude and mystery of the natural creation of matter, life, and energy. This is certainly not a theory or a hypothesis even, but they seem to have tapped into a vein of arcane wisdom pertaining to existence, or the ancient creation thereof. And this, for me, is what makes the 9 so special.

The music implies a greater understanding of a greater perspective that has something to do with spirituality, time enriched by art and creation, love, and the sharing of energy. And they share this perspective with us every time they play, and they share it selflessly. I won't critique sector 9's performances. I won't wish I had heard something different afterwards. From the first note of the first set on, I put every ounce of my faith in them and what I get back is priceless, precious, and I keep it near me always: inspiration, love, color, wonder. And of course, travelling through space hanging off the back of the 9-tribe spaceship (the Fillmore stage) with one hand, shaking my other fist and smiling ridiculously at the stars and planets (the crystal chandeliers) as we zoom through space, legs flailing while an equinox->moonsockets encore resonates between my ears.

I'm not a religious man, in fact I kind of abhor organized religion (and calling the Sound Tribe a religion would not be right), but if I've ever been saved, if my soul has ever been quenched, if I've ever been touched by an intangible force, it was at the Fillmore last weekend. A big thanks to the 9, and all those who came to the Fillmore to participate. Always with peace, and always with love, brad-lay.
Bradly Bifulco

"After the wonderful experience of Sector 9 at the Fillmore I felt compelled and inspired to write about what we had just encountered. I can't stop thinking about it!

After anticipating the show for weeks I knew, long before entering the Fillmore, that we were all in for a treat! Now I personally thought, that Friday night was GREAT!!!! Until I heard someone say wait until Saturday. I thought to myself 'what more could they possibly do?' Already I was satisfied with the selection of songs, the physical sound, the vibe, everything. Yet still could not wait to see what the next night would bring?

As the purple lighting of the chandeliers cast down upon the harvest/sunflower/candle lit CRYSTAL alter, it illuminated the stage in an incredible, spiritrual way!! Not to mention all the good energy abound. And lets not forget about the power pyramid in the poster room upstairs either. A truely equisite setting.

Sector 9 proceeded to take a song, turn it inside out and put it back again like I have never heard before!! Morphing the sound is an accurate way of putting it. Leaving me with the engrossing feeling of WOW! Smiles all around from the band to the crowd, and here we go again with that sustainable circle of creative energy!

Dancing with my family of Organic Groovers, meeting new peeps. I did not want it to end! After the show I was speechless. Filtering out of the Fillmore hearing bits and pieces of others feedback was great. Everyone seemed overwhelmed.

All I can say is THANKS GUYS! Please keep it coming! I'm feeling it, and can't wait for more! You are a band that has touched so many of our souls.

Blessed to be a part of this tribe, sisterswirl."
Sally Worden

"STS9 has discovered a beautiful mix of psychedelic improvisation and technotronic inspiration. I find myself trying to focus on the entire piece of music as a whole and get drawn into each individual player's talents. Zach must be from another universe for there has never been anyone to compare his playing to. They are quite possibly the best example of a band who are pushing the boundaries of what we consider to be modern music. STS9 will be the band that defines a new genre of emulators. Long Live the Sound Tribe!"
Kevin Runde

These are just a few samples of the kind words and sentiments that have been surrounding Sector 9's epic performance at The Fillmore. The depth of emotion is impossible to convey, the affect on our lives is yet to be felt. All that I can do is give thanks that we are blessed enough to have a band like the Sound Tribe Sector 9 existing in the same plane that we do. I will leave you with my last wordly desire. . . It is my hope that one day I will be able to leave my human form, dissipate from the physical existence we all know, and somehow become a part of Sector 9. I wish to shed my body, leave the world of possessions and enter the Tribe's speakers, somehow occupying the same space that their sound waves do. Floating through time, hugging the music, forever wrapped up in a blanket of 9.

A loving thank you to everyone who was at The Fillmore for the shows, to all the people who contributed to this article, and especially to the Sound Tribe Sector 9.

May peace be with you.

JamBase | Thrill Valley
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[Published on: 11/8/01]

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