STS9’s stunning live show transports their Bay Area fans to a magical world

STS9By Marc Fong //

STS9 //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
January 29th, 2016 //

“Livetronic” act Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) played more than just an awe-inspiring set at the Fox Theater Oakland last Friday, performing amidst a stellar light show that made the overall experience both ethereal and fantastic.

The last time the five-piece from Santa Cruz by way of Atlanta visited the Fox (read our review here), it was clear that bassist Alana Rocklin, who joined the band in early 2014, had sparked a creative revival for STS9 after the sudden departure of former bass player David Murphy.

STS9

STS9 offer a progressive dance beat that is both earthy and technologically-driven. In essence, their stunning live show transports an audience to a magical world filled with chill beats and booty-shaking rhythms.

The performance, which spanned more than three hours in length and featured no opening acts, included a 70’s-inspired light show that only added a layer of visual stimulation. After all, an STS9 show is something every live music fan should witness at least once in their life.

Set 1: MOD > Modular > MOD > Grow, Love Don’t Terrorize, Kaya > What Does Your Soul Look Like (DJ Shadow cover) > Click Lang Echo, Orbital, When the Dust Settles

Set 2: Walk to the Light, Hi-Key, Golden Gate > Looking Back on Earth, Totem, Awesome feat. Cool Kids (STS9 Remix) > The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature, Rent

Encore: You Don’t Say

Bassist Alana Rocklin is sparking a creative revival with STS9

STS92By Benjamin Wallen //

STS9 with Michal Menert //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
November 22nd, 2014 //

Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) returned to the Bay Area last Saturday to rock the Fox Theater Oakland with their high-energy, electronic-infused show.

To kick off the night, the Santa Cruz five-piece booked Colorado electronic producer Michal Menert, whose music pairs fairly well with STS9’s. Repping his label Super Best Records on his T-shirt and exhibiting a sound reminiscent of his childhood friend and colleague Derek Vincent Smith (aka Pretty Lights), Menert got the audience warmed up before STS9 hit the stage for three hours.

With STS9’s newest member Alana Rocklin driving home the bass, there was something about the band that felt different, yet strangely familiar. Having attended many STS9 shows before, this one felt a tad heavier on the electronic side than in previous years, but the quintet dialed it down a few times to transition into some rock jams that had me forgetting I was listening to STS9. As someone who toured with My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James during his 2013 solo tour, Rocklin’s command of her instrument, along with her stage presence, seemed to fuel the group’s path throughout the night.

STS93

The old Sound Tribe is still there, but the fresh format is sparking a creative revival — and you can hear it in the music. During STS9’s second set, drummer Zach Velmer and percussionist Jeffree Lerner broke out into a drum battle using a Cajon, a wooden percussion instrument, and a single drum. The flow and energy of the band’s rhythm section was a highlight for me, as I’ve never seen such a cool moment at a Sound Tribe show.

The crowd was friendly all around — hugs and happiness abound. With the band members smiling from ear to ear and spreading such good, happy energy throughout the venue, it reminded me of why I love seeing STS9 live. Even though we may never hear another token “What’s up, San Francisco?!?! How ya’ll feeling tonight?!?!” from former bass player David Murphy, Rocklin has far surpassed what I was hoping for in breathing a new, rich beam of light into one of my favorite bands.

Set 1: New Dawn New Day, Golden Gate, Ramone & Emiglio > Monkey Music, Poseidon, Walk to the Light, Frequencies Peace 2 > 3, World Go Round

Set 1: Dance > Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) > Dance, Vapors, Only Light Remains, Kamuy, Orbital > Hubble, Abcees > No Quarter (Led Zeppelin cover) > Abcees > No Quarter > Abcees

Encore: Circus

STS9, Tycho see split scenes in Oakland

STS9_PostPhotos by Sam Heller // Written by Mike Frash //

STS9 with Tycho //
Fox Theater Oakland – Oakland
March 1st, 2013 //

Santa Cruz’s STS9 flowed through the Fox Theater Oakland Friday evening, delivering a couple sets that were heavy on newer material from their 2011 EP When the Dust Settles. The second set began with an unexpected treat; a horn section joined the electronic jam band for the first four songs of the second set.

More than any other live act, STS9 straddles the line between jam band and electronic act, but they usually defer to their live instruments. However, most members have a laptop nearby, and the second layer of the band on stage are on an elevated platform, as most big-name DJ acts are these days.

There was a duality to the night Friday, as rising SF-based Tycho had plenty of his own fans in attendance since he was the opening act. It seemed like Tycho would be a perfect opening act for STS9 based on both group’s musical output, but the bridge was never finished, as a surprising amount of concertgoers left before STS9 performed. This only gave more room for the Sound Tribe faithful to get down and celebrate live music.

Set 1: This, Us!, When The Dust Settles > Arigato, Beyond Right Now, T.W.E.L.V.E > Warrior, Metameme, Simulator

Set 2: Revolutions 1993*, End Titles*, Be Nice*, Firewall*, Golden Gate, Rent, Biggs >New Song, What is Love, Awesome, The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature

Encore: By The Morning Sun, Scheme

*with horns

STS9 evolve time at The Fillmore Auditorium

STS9By Pete Mauch //

STS9 //
The Fillmore Auditorium – Denver
December 30th, 2012 //

STS9 continued their New Year’s Eve run, which they’ve dubbed “Time Within Evolving Living Vehicle Earth” (T.W.E.L.V.E.) in Denver, playing two sets of mind-melting material that pleased old and new fans alike. “Pulse” > “MOD” started off the night, and from the way STS9 delivered the opening sequence, the Denver crowd knew they were in for a treat.

Tribe then delivered two newer songs, “Golden Gate” and the title track off their newest EP When the Dust Settles. Both songs were executed perfectly. If older Tribe fans were getting a little worried that this was going be an all-new material set, a few songs later they dropped into a rare and downright awesome “Blu Mood”.

They dusted this gem off after a few years on the shelf, and in doing so, pleased many fans in attendance. The song drops into an atmospheric sounding “blu mood” that was full of blistering lead solos by guitarist Hunter Brown before the track leads to a more rhythmic tempo led by bassist David Murphy.

STS9

The second set started off with “Metameme”, which is a groove-oriented song that gives way to big breakdowns throughout. “Scheme Reprise” came next and is always welcomed in my set. It gets me amped up, especially when they busted out Daft Punk’s “Robot Rock”. “Move My Peeps” clocked in around 10 minutes and definitely deserved a close listen, along with “Instantly,” which instantly became one of my favorite Tribe songs.

STS9 is truly on top of their craft in being a live electronic act with real instrumentation, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw them in arenas soon. I sure hope they don’t, but they definitely deserve it.

Set I: Pulse, MOD, Golden Gate, When the Dust Settles, NIN Intro > Tooth, Blu Mood, Circus, Hidden Hand Hidden Fist, Rent

Set II: Metameme, Beyond Right Now, Scheme Reprise, Robot rock, Inspire Strikes Back, Move My Peeps, Shock Doctrine, Instantly, What Is Love?, Pulse

Encore: Equinox, Open E

STS9