STS9 in the ‘ville


WAR Memorial Auditorium
Nashville, Tennessee
November 6, 2008

The electronic groove and experimental prowess of Sound Tribe Sector 9 may reside on the left coast, but they got their start in the heart of the southland in Athens, Georgia.  The band’s fall tour brought them back thru the South with stops at venues like Louisville’s Headliners, Birmingham’s Alabama Theater and Nashville’s WAR Memorial Auditorium. When they started up the evening at Nashville’s WAR, they started with an undisputed bang.

sts91.jpgDrummer Zach Velmer always seems ready to break it down. However on this night he seemed overly excited and found it hard to stay seated behind his kit.  Throughout the night he jumped to his feet and pumped the crowd into a frenzy.  Bassist Dave Murphy took on the role of the communicator, and he spent the evening relaying messages out to the crowd between songs, hyping them for what was to come.  The long night of deeply groove oriented music kept the swollen crowd in a constant state of motion.  Lost somewhere between the sea of mind melting lights and the heavily hip hop-influenced beats, it became increasingly hard to fight off the desire to follow STS9 on the evening’s journey.

Guitarist Hunter Brown easily could take a back seat to the booming beats of Velmer and Murphy; instead he added the polish to the jam with flawless accents and subtle solos. 

sts92.jpgI have always labeled STS9’s electronic grooves as organic, a word that may sound inherently impossible to pair with electronic music.  However, the band seemed to tap into a natural element that grounds the music.  It appealed to the senses, and added grains of earthly flavor to the process.   At times you could feel the gritty sand that scratched at the surface of the music, and other times there was a definitive wind that carried the music thru intertwined segues.

Whether you agree with the comparisons between STS9’s music and elements of nature, you cannot discredit their originality.  They continue to look for ways to augment their sound, and grow the music.  And for that they have climbed to the forefront of the jamband movement, and in large part have become a pillar of that musical community.