It's 11:58pm on Monday, December 31st, 2001. My eyes are closed, my body is swaying, my cheeks hurt from smiling, my fingers are tingling with excitement and energy. There is a wash of sound, a beautiful improv after just hearing an intense musical explosion to end the year. We are being ushered though a hallway with love and positivity. Without so much fanfare, the new year is upon us. We are given a "Baraka" - a blessing for times to come.
What now? Well, we move on with the utmost positivity and passion for life. We all have our favorite music these days and I have already heard some really awesome New Year's Eve accounts from across the country. Thank you, Sound Tribe Sector 9, for helping to open our minds and hearts to embrace the future with hope and love instead of fear or regret. Our time on this Earth is really the only thing in our lives that actually has a limit. Use it wisely and with compassion.
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12.28 | Gothic
12.29 | 8150 Club
(Remember the bouncing floor!)
12.30 | Fox Theatre
12.31 | Fox Theatre
Over the last four days of 2001, Sound Tribe Sector 9 brought celebration to a new level in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The holiday tour began on Friday, December 28th at the beautiful Gothic Theater in Denver, CO which was a great place to start things off. Excitement was building as I entered the room and approached the stage to take in the scene. The front of the stage was adorned with an energy vortex - a copper pyramid with various crystals within. Some of the crystals were bigger than my head. The stage had this set up for all four nights. |
The magic of the Sound Tribe is created not only by the music, but by the crew and the audience, as well. With their own DJ's and MC's in tow, each moment of the evening is deliberate and brimming with light. Each night, Saxton, Kaptain Harris and Scottie would create the pre-, mid- and post-show vibes spinning organic house and atmospheric drum 'n' bass and rapping delightly spreading messages of peace and enlightenment.
Friday, December 28th | Gothic Theater | Denver, CO
Set I: Improv > And Some Are Angels, Improv, Shine, Kaya > Wiki Chikana
Set II: Orbital > Water Song > Improv > T.W.E.L.V.E. > Bosso
Encore: King Pharohs Tomb
The musicians took the stage and keyboardist David Phipps began a beautiful piano solo to move us into the night. When Zach Velmer (drums) joined in, we were reminded that there are millions of souls walking the earth "...and some are angels." This first night was filled with beautiful tones and spacey jams that created a swirl of energy within the room. I was especially shocked with the piano playing of Prof. Phipps (as some have begun to call him) and this continued throughout the weekend. He has been taking special workshops about sound and light healing. Soak it up!
It was apparent that Sector 9 had some new ideas for the future. On many occasions, the musicians would just play what they felt leaving many fans to look around and say, "Have you ever heard THIS before?" The new sound of Sector 9 is evolving within their improvisations. Each song that actually does have a structure is now being stretched out to the limits to see where it can go. Highlights in this show were the "Wiki Chikana" and the "T.W.E.L.V.E." which were over the top creating a frenzy on the dance floor. "King Pharoah's Tomb" was such a dope encore - ridiculous dub jams in that song.
December, 29th | Club 8150 | Vail, CO
Set I: Freq. D&B > Freq p.2 > Freq. p.3, Improv D&B (new d&b), Horn
Set II: Dance, Your It (w/ Scottie), Favorite Melody, Improv House, 4 Year Puma
Summit County is known as Colorado's playground. With some "rad" ski resorts and fun vacation-y folks, it's got good time written all over the place. This show was at high elevations, and I mean that in more than one way. STS9 played a RIPPING show shocking first timers into becoming loyal fans. I have never overheard so many superlatives from the crowd. "Best show I've ever seen." "This is my new favorite band." "I will never miss a Sector 9 show."
Well, the show really was quite sick. The first set was just on fire with the Frequency jams and other Improvs. As soon as the band came on, we were treated to the charm of the 8150 Club - a bouncing floor. It wasn't just bouncing, though. It was difficult to remain standing at some really intense points. Scottie (MC) made his only stage appearance of the weekend in Vail during "Your It." His rhymes are fun and the words make you feel good and safe. This show reminded me a lot of the Sector 9 show I saw in Portland, OR in April for it's high energy in that "get up and dance" sort of way.
December 30th | Fox Theatre | Boulder, CO
Set I: Grow, Improv (down tempo), Mobsters, Mischief, Itzamana
Set II: Drone D&B (Tentative Title), Ramone and Emiglio, New Song (possibly Right Time Comes), Tap In, Que Es Amor? (What Is Love)
By the time we got to the Boulder show, the crystals on the stage were joined by different plants and flowers. I had visions of those plants being fed this rejuvenating energy from the music and growing out of control. Wouldn't it be great to see Sector 9 play in an atrium someday?
The Fox Theatre was busting out at the seems with lots of Boulder kidz coming out to get their groove on. I loved the first set, "Itzamana" is one of my most favorite songs and this was one of the best versions I've ever heard. "How does this band get better and better every night," I marvelled. The lights were UNREAL. Saxton was working the controls and he was rocking it. Gorgeous colors were bursting and lighting up the stage and the room. The Tribe has a way of waking people up with their Art.
The second set was HUGE. Highlights would have to be the sick "Tap In" and the "Que Es Amor." "Que Es Amor" was enormous. Do you remember the "roar" at the February Fillmore show during "Moonsockets?" Well, it happened again during this "What is Love." The crowd spontaneously went WILD and shouted with exhilaration during one of the swells of the tune. Hugs, laughter and speechlessness were rampant after this show...
NYE December 31st | Fox Theatre | Boulder, CO
Set I: Movement, STS9, WMIOD > Quest > Right Time Comes
Set II: Moon Socket > Improv > (12:00am) > Improv > Baraka, Kamuy
Set III: Hubble, Circus, Equinox, Eb > Monkey Music
Encore: Evasive Manuvers
Well, here we are - New Year's Eve. The night we've all been waiting for. Let's get this 2001 business overwith. We're ready to embrace new projects, new intentions and our first palindromic year! Needless to say, the Fox was buzzing with merriment. I can't get over the magnitude of optimism that was in the air. Upon entering the Fox, audience members were invited to take a crystal that lay on a table in the entrance. The crystals were dug up from mine tailings by bassist Dave Murphy on his trip out to Colorado with the intention of presenting one to each person who entered the door on NYE. The stage looked gorgeous with a large screen behind the band and a webbing that was hanging down from the ceiling of the stage. From the center of the ceiling of the stage hung an orb with a crystal hanging in the middle. The crystal was winking and blinking in the lights all night. I imagined that the crystal was sending out transmissions to those who were not with us. The messages that were being sent via crystal were those of hope, positivity, peace and, of course, love.
I spoke with Saxton who was able to shed some light on the production. The orb was actually a Starseed Crystal consisting of four concentric circles made out of copper which would raise vibrations for a 2.5 mile radius. The quartz crystal that hung in the middle was dug up by Saxton himself in Arkansas. The webbing was a geometrical lattice of 26 points which is a sacred number, Saxton tells me. The lattice was made of weedwacker material and the whole thing took seven hours to build - from 2:20am until 9:30am on Monday morning. Congratulations on a job extremely well done.
The first set absolutely ripped. I was shocked about three different times during the set hearing a band that I've never heard before. The most shocking thing was when they played "Quest" off of Interplanetary Escape Vehicle. Don't hate me for saying this, but it was a bit phishy. Whatever... it was Sector 9 playing rock 'n' roll and there ain't nothing wrong with that! When the band came out for the second set at 11:50ish, they ripped into an intense "Moonsockets." The transition into the new year was anticlimactic as compared to others I've seen or heard about. It was perfectly Sector 9. Those who were looking to have midnight blown up in their faces were in the wrong place. People who were at the Fox were there to experience New Years Eve STS9 style. The music simply moved us forward into the new year, and once we were there... the blessing.
And after the blessing, comes the dance party. Wowsers, Sector 9 can surely make you bust out some moves you never knew you had. After the passing into 2002 and the "Baraka," they did one of my very favorites, "Kamuy." The second set was short but it made way for an ecstatic third set that had the room going absolutely nuts. The "Circus" was the best with brand new sections that were probably made up right there. And thank goodness for "Monkey Music" - that song gets your heart pumping a little faster.
Happy New Year. I hope that 2002 is filled with positivity and productivity for all of us.
Resident World Bridger
Go See Live Music!
Thanks to Bob Wiely for the setlists!
p.s. If you are still hanging around in Colorado this month, check out where you can see DJ Saxton and Kaptain Harris. They'll be spinning in the mountains all month long!
STS9 - THE TRANSFERENCE OF ENERGY
My head is still swimming in the positive energy that the Sound Tribe Sector 9 created over the four day holiday run in Colorado. For me it wasn't about one show, or a specific song, it was the ENTIRE experience. As the one and only Super Dee has touched on the high-lights of the New Year's extravaganza, I would like to delve into the intangible aspects of Sector 9, which is perhaps where this group of people escapes the classification of being simply a band. Sector 9 is more than a band, they are a creative, energetic, artistic entity, a family if you will. Starting with the five musicians, the Tribe is taking music to new heights, pushing improvisation in new directions, and perpetuating positivity in a way that I have never had the pleasure of being around. But Sector 9 is far more than the five gifted men who take the stage every night, as I said, they are a family of wonderful individuals who give their minds, bodies, and souls, to creating an experience for all of us.
Saxton and Scotty take care of the vibes, spinning wonderful wax selections all night, from Tosca to Trouble Makers, to Drum and Bass and Dub, nothing is left to chance, the night belongs to the 9. As the DJ's take care of the sound waves the rest of the crew, (including Scotty and Saxton) set the stage, literally. Adorned with gorgeous crystals, life bearing plants, candles and more, the physical stage is transformed into a spiritual home for the music to be born. With amazing beats spinning, positive words of wisdom elevating from the MC's, and the stage prepared, the Sound Tribe conglomeration spreads love to their extended family. Everyone involved with the 9 is amazing, EVERYONE. Gene, who heads the merchandise, is no exception, or perhaps all of the Sound Tribe family IS an exception. Brimming with positivity Gene and the rest of the merch crew help to build this positive energy by displaying not only the gear, but crystals galore and perhaps even more importantly, knowledge. I had many conversations with people behind the merch tables who enlightened me on the properties of crystals.
This use of crystals brings another point to mind. The transference of energy, which is apparently one of the premier qualities of crystals. Throughout the four nights I became involved in an activity that I had never been exposed to before. It seems that a number of people, including myself, take crystals to shows, (I take them everywhere) and throughout the four evenings we were exchanging crystals with one another, everyone was. I would be dancing with my eyes closed, holding one of my crystals, and someone would slip a different one into my hand while exchanging it for my crystal. It was perhaps someone I had met before, or perhaps not. I would dance with my new friend's crystal, feeling the energy, letting it sink into my body, through my hands. The individual's energy, felt in the warmth of the crystal, was literally transferred from them to me, and vice versa. I could feel that person's positive energy, helping to elevate me to a higher region of both consciousness, and joy. The lending of crystals continued through all four nights, growing in frequency, as I spread my love by handing crystals off to old and new friends, allowing the energy to spread and perpetuate itself.
This is yet another of the intangible qualities that makes Sector 9 so special. Their fans are not just ragers (which many of them are). They are looking for more, a spiritual encounter, a heightened sense of reality, and the Sound Tribe becomes the catalyst for this. Perhaps you can think of the use of crystals to transfer energy as a microcosm for the entity forever known as Sound Tribe Sector 9. Every show is indicative of the audience, every note is uniquely created to connect with the dancing, glowing, floating fans. It is a cycle that also feeds off of itself. As the Tribe builds their evening of music, the crowd drinks it in, and returns the energy, allowing the band to feed off their vibe. The cycle continues, elevating itself with positive energy bouncing from band to crowd over and over, creating a sense of euphoria, for both the musicians and the fans, and again we find ourselves transferring energy. It is perhaps the most unique and special connection I have ever had with a band, one I will never let go of.
With the gift of crystals for everyone at the Fox, which were dug up by David Murphy (bass) and his friend Kara on their way to Colorado, coupled with the amazing set up of the stage, this transference of energy seems to be of the utmost importance for the Tribe. It is my belief that this idea of exchanging energy extends far beyond the specific shows, the Sound Tribe is in a perpetual state of positive energy. Every interaction I have with these wonderful people reinforces this idea. From my conversations with Zach (drums), and Gene, to hanging out with Steve (their ticketing man) or even just sitting with all of them back stage these are truly special people. And this extends once again to the fans. As I continue to emphasize, this is more than just music and partying, it is a way of life, a support system for the future, an idea of what life could be like, if we simply allowed ourselves to evolve, to emerge from our materialistic ideals, and embrace the vibrations of life and love.
Spending new years 2002 with Sector 9 was perfect, there was no where I would have rather been. Music has been used as a source of medicine since the beginning of time. African drum circles, ancient percussions, the use of shells as wind instruments, even the breaking waves on the beach, sound has been healing for man long before our calendar of 2002 years was invented. It is only in our sick society that we have lost touch with the therapeutic qualities of music. We have traded our souls for money, our beats for bank accounts. But Sector 9, and music in general, brings us back to a time when we can dance together, hold our hearts on our sleeves, trust our fellow man, and allow the music to heal. Starting the new year with ideals like these refresh my some what jaded view of the world. It gives me hope that we may actually evolve, that we may value our fellow humans more than our pay checks. It is not just the musicians that are responsible for instilling these feelings, it is all of us. From the Sector 9 family, to the fans, to the entire music scene, we make our own realities. We choose our paths and walk them, we are responsible for our own destinies. Perhaps people find this type of inspiration elsewhere, and I hope they do, but I find it with in Sector 9, so thank you, to the band, the family, the fans, and the world. With every interaction we have the ability to affect people positively, don't miss that chance. Time is art, you are love, we are the future.
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