Words by: Zachary Sampsel | Images by Casey Flanigan
Sound Tribe Sector 9 :: 02.28.09 :: Fillmore Auditorium :: San Francisco, CA
Sound Tribe Sector 9 threw a sold out, Saturday night party in San Francisco at The Fillmore and with it, debuted new songs complete with bone rattling bass and pop-culture prowess.
The show Saturday night was the third of four in a row for STS9 at The Fillmore, which jumpstarted a Spring Tour complete with stops at familiar venues from the band's past. To kick off this tour, STS9 chose to showcase some of the best local talent from the Bay Area each night, including DJ GoldenChyld, DJ Morale, Lionize and Kap10 Harris. Lionize opened the show Saturday with a knee bending set of reggae tracks that had the air hazy and the crowd loosened up well before STS9 took the stage.
While the house lights dimmed, the crowd's cheers filled the room as Hunter Brown (guitar), David Phipps (keyboards), Jeffree Lerner (percussion), Zach Velmer (drums) and David Murphy (bass) took the stage with a new LED light rig and band arrangement on display. Wasting no time to show off the new music, the band launched into "Lion," which featured 80s-era synthesizer riffs from Phipps, while Murphy held up the low end with a distinctive wobble. "Lion" stretched almost 10 minutes, and the samplings of Outkast during its reprise let the San Francisco crowd know they were in for a treat as they slid into a thunderous and hypnotic version of "Shock Doctrine."
An intense version of "Tooth" followed, but it was during the next track, "Instantly," that the set began to gain steam. Debuted in 2005, "Instantly" quickly became a crowd favorite – and for good reason. In the years since, this song puts Brown's ability to trigger samples front and center over the top of the track's jazzy, sexy rhythms, and Saturday was more of the same recipe.
One of the biggest surprises of the show came in the form of a beautiful version of "Water Song," which surfaced from the remains of "The New Soma." Some slick drumming from Velmer and subtle tones from Brown's guitar made this delicate version of an old classic one of the evening's highlights.
"One A Day" brought the energy back up in the room as the band prepared to launch the second half of the set into the stratosphere with more than 20 minutes of new material. A remix of "Tether Ball Triumph" by fellow 1320 Records label mates, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, was the first of the new songs debuted by the full band in this stretch, and it left the crowd wide-eyed and jaw-dropped with its hysteric high-end frequencies.
Zach Velmer - STS9 :: The Fillmore :: 2009 Run|
New tracks "Umbra," "Arp" and "Vulcan" followed the remix of "Tether Ball Triumph," but flowed so seamlessly in and out of each other, I couldn't tell where one began and another ended. Although it didn't matter by that point because all the members of STS9 were playing with such intensity that it was hard to look away or think beyond the moment.
The dark, gruesome tones of "Economic Hitman" signaled the end of the set as bursts of bass from Murphy's midi synthesizer were coming from all angles. The entire second half of the set had a feel eerily similar to the Live PA set the band played in San Francisco back in December (read the review here) and it was during this version of "Economic Hitman" that it all came together for me. As the tempo increased and the band progressed toward the roaring reprise of the track, the sounds of Big Boi's (Outkast) voice once again came through the speakers as he reminded the crowd, "It's going down." It was at this point that it all made sense and I recognized how the latest evolution from this band was the amalgamation of the Live PA and full band tracks to yield a show with continuity, force and songs both old and new.
The classic pairing of "Evasive Maneuvers" and "Kamuy" began the encore, and energetic versions of both songs reminded everyone of STS9's strengths in both playing and songwriting. "New New 4 U U" closed the show, and its Afrika Bambaataa-like sound put the perfect taste in everyone's mouth as fans spilled onto the street talking about what had just happened.
02.28.09 :: The Fillmore :: San Francisco, CA
I: Lion*, Shock Doctrine, Tooth, Instantly, Empires > The New Soma, Water Song, One A Day, Tether Ball Triumph*, Umbra*, Arp*, Atlas*, Vulcan*, 1103, EHM
Encore: Evasive > Kamuy, New New 4 U U
* First Time Played
You can purchase this show here.
Continue reading for coverage of Sunday night...