Sound Tribe Sector 9, The Fillmore, two very powerful worlds have collided to bring us one stellar performance. The real Attack of The Clones was STS9 bringing their extraterrestrial grooves to The Fillmore in San Francisco. Special guests appeared in abundance to lend our brothers a helping hand in creating an inspirational groove for the collective audience. There must be something in those crystals up on the magical stage because these guys just pushed it further and further.
The first time I was graced by this band was directly after seeing Phish in New Orleans during the fall of 99. Big shoes to fill, but needless to say they exceeded my expectations to the point of questioning which show was better (could that be possible)? On each and every occasion that I have seen Sector 9 since, they have grown by leaps and bounds. Each member of the tribe has learned how to hone in on a jam, and send his followers psyche on vacation. What they do best is setting into a groove to keep you dancing. They build it slowly but surely until you think that they couldn’t possibly create a more superior sound. It is at that point when they kick it up a notch and really expand upon the collective limits of both the band and audience.
STS9’s continuous touring has really allowed each member to finesse the evolution of a musical exploration. As complex as a spider’s web, each member has seamlessly mastered intertwining his own creation within the composition. Much like an artist painting a mural, the mastermind is always in control but his intentions aren’t completely clear until the final piece is unveiled.
On to the special guests, Karsh Kale was the man of the hour. I am even of the opinion that Karsh is perhaps the coolest individual on the planet at this point it time. He plays the tabla like nobody’s business, and spins the most exquisite selections on his turn tables. As amazing as Zach Velmer is on the drums, I found Karsh Kale at times, to be on par with the same mind bending level of percussion work as Zach! If you haven’t seen this guy play with STS9 yet, your missing an amazing musical connection. Zach and Karsh both could have played the part of the mad scientist judging by the facial expressions they were trading during their stupefying drum battles. Zach would lay down a very difficult drum line and Karsh would come back with something even thicker and more intense, the two of them went on in this fashion for the entire night. Karsh has fingers fast enough to match Zach’s machine gun rapid fire drum licks. His presence was prevalent, even dominant in many of the jams we heard at The Fillmore.
Meanwhile don't forget about Jeffree Lerner (STS9's other percussive guru) either. The triangle of drums with Zach, Karsh, and Jeffree was mind boggling. They ran the gamut, bouncing off one another, diving into breaks, falling back on beats, and always with the haunting echoes of Karsh Kale's tabla.
Highlights for me were definitely the "Kamuy", and what a "Kamuy" it was, drifting on and building with intensity, really breaking out in the first moments of the show. I also enjoyed "Mischief of a Sleepwalker", "Moonsockets", and "EB." Through out the evening guitarist Hunter Brown continued to step it up. Not to say he was lacking before, but if anyone is taking their vitamins and getting lots of brown rice, it's got to be Hunter. His presence is far more powerful and confident than it was a year ago, and every time I see him this notion is further enforced. A STS9 show is difficult to pin down highlights, for one reason or another I can never remember the names of their songs, I just know the jams. So a show will just flow from start to finish and that is one of the many reasons I am truly in admiration of their sound and their shows.
"Moonsockets!" Whew what a nasty one it turned out to be. The floor just bounced; if you sat still you couldn’t help but move with the house. I feel they were completely generous with the funk. I think it was during "Moonsockets" that Scott Miller came out on the didgeridoo, bringing us to yet another level propelling the jam to intergalactic proportions. With all of the Star Wars hype this week, I couldn’t help but find myself comparing the show to something out of a George Lucas film as many of the visuals accompanying the sounds tonight were of stars, galaxies, and UFO’s.
The soul sister named Audio Angel who joined Zach and Murphy with RootScience graced us with her presence once again and did a beautiful job complimenting the Tribe. There were so many reasons to love this particular show, from the set list to the Karsh Kale drum flavoring, to the didgeridoo, to just being in The Fillmore. You have to respect this venue for what it represents to the music world, and as a band you have to prove yourself worthy to be on The Fillmore stage.
JamBase | San Francisco
Go See Live Music!
intro/improv (Havana Ascent?)
Mischief of a Sleepwalker *
Ramone and Emiglio
Movements * %
Life's Sweet Breath
Tap In *
For My Peeps *
We'll Meet In Our Dreams
Satori * %
* with Karsh Kale on percussion/samples
% with Audio Angel on vocals
And Scott Miller on didgeridoo at one point