STS9 with The Perceptionists :: 02.17 :: Theater of Living Arts :: Philadelphia, PA

Brown & Murphy (left) :: STS9 with Perceptionists (right)
Philadelphia's Theater of Living Arts was packed. The floor resembled a beehive of worker bees each doing their own ass-shake to attract the queen. Sound Tribe Sector 9 was mid-way through their first set and had yet to, as Emeril says, "kick it up a notch." Then, out of the shadows, BAM! - a tremendous collaboration, a whopping live moment. The night's opening act The Perceptionists, minus DJ fackts One, busted a move back onto the TLA stage. Akrobatik was draped in a Philly Ball jersey. His partner in chime, Mr. Lif, accompanied him, sporting thick dreads. Both were ready to bring our crowd of bees to their hive.

STS9 with Perceptionists (left) :: Zach Velmer (right)
STS9's music flowed like molasses. Their smooth, sweet jams instantly locked up with the Perceptionists' lyrics like Legos and Lincoln Logs. Our swarming crowd surged against the barrier in waves of bouncing bodies. Arms were up in the air being waved around without as much as a care. The synchronization of the crowd's movement with the music and the lyrics was awesome. Akrobatik had a deep, powerful voice and pulled his rhymes slower in contrast to his partner's rapid fire attack. Mr. Lif was fast and all about the delivery. This was raw, in your face hip-hop, and we slurped it up.

Dave Murphy (left) :: STS9 with Perceptionists (right)
The pair bounced lyrics back and forth gaining momentum from the incredible live band behind them and the amped crowd in front of them. It was difficult to pull your attention from these two, but if you managed, you'd see grins being tossed around throughout team STS9. Bassist David Murphy had the largest as he bopped and slapped his bass to the scene. Akrobatik raised his hands skyward as he gave the shout for our colony to follow him in unison. Zach Velmer, STS9's drummer, had slowed his spirited attack of the skins, keeping the beat with David Phipps' tapping key work. Heck, by now even the usually still Hunter Brown was groovin'. The music was an infectious mix of beats and rhymes consuming victims left and right.

STS9 with The Perceptionists
Thoughts of the Roots and Beastie Boys bounced around as the live band-backed hip-hop drew to a close. This collaboration was just waiting to happen. STS9's jungle, drum & bass, and techno-layered jams could produce some of the greatest loops, samples, and sounds known to hip-hop. Moments like this were why the TLA sold out on a cold, dreary Thursday night. The Perceptionists exited stage left with a warm thanks from STS9. Akrobatik and Mr. Lif pumped hands, pressed flesh, and pounded fists with the whole band.

Listen to STS9's brand new album ARTiFACT on Rhapsody.

All words & Images by: Jake Krolick
JamBase | Philly
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[Published on: 2/27/05]

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