STS9 & Red Rocks: a Journey


Red Rocks Amphitheater
Morrison, Colorado
September 5, 2008

And God said, "Let there be light." And the universe with all it’s energy was blasted out and creation began.  Some know the first statement, and just think of it as the opening phrase in the Christian bible.  Some of us hardcore music lovers see beyond the story and can understand the wisdom and truth in it. God spoke it and creation began. Speech is sound. Sound is a vibration of particles that travels and is picked up by our ears.  That vibration is energy.  Light is also another form of energy.  The light that gets reflected to our eyes, and how our minds interpret it, is just a small part of the energy of the entire Electro-Magnetic Spectrum. 

Light, sound, and energy are what STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9) create and deliver. Most of their fans know it and are completely dialed into it.  It is an experience of creation, as well as entertainment.

I arrived at Red Rocks Amphitheater like I always do, in awe.  The natural acoustics mixed with the spectacular visual scenery, was the perfect environment to see a band as rich and diverse in sound, light, and energy, as STS9.  I had been to a number of shows at this venue, but this particular night was a little different. This time I had a camera and a mission: to try and capture and share the experience, with images and words. It has been about 6 years since I have written any form of text or review for photographs or art I have captured or created. This new mission seemed fairly simple, but the artistic journey that it delivered became more complex than I had originally anticipated. It is sometimes difficult to give an honest review when your mission involves foreknowledge of judgment of a concert experience.  So I decided to just be open to it all.

1_Talib_3587.jpg STS9 kicked off their first of 2 nights with opening act, Talib Kweli.  The energy of his music definitely got the crowd moving and jazzed up for what was to come.  STS9 re-introduced themselves to the venue this year with “Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist,” a high-energy new creation form their latest album, Peaceblaster.  They followed the opening song with “Lo Swaga,” then “Somesing,” which continued the grooves and flow.  I could go on tell you what songs STS9 played, and if they performed them well or not.  I would rather give you a more honest and in-depth review of not just the musical song selection, but also the experience.

The show became more of an experience of artistic amazement, rather than just listening to a performance.  It is evident that STS9’s mission that night was to have an ultimate musical and visual artistic experience, as they also had painters creating along side them on stage.  I also met an assortment of dedicated fans, all who really seemed to be tuned into what I was tuned into, the energy.  I soon found that I wasn’t really observing a concert.   It was more like sharing in an artistic creation. I felt the positive energy that was generated from that experience.  Yes, the grooves were spectacular, and it was highly entertaining. But when you step outside of that kind of judgment, and try to subjectively experience a band’s art form of musical expression, you also find that you experience a sense of joy that is unrestricted by criticism.  Most of the fans were just as equally part of the experience, and seemed tapped into the same vibe, whether they knew it or not.  Is that what God felt in his act of creation; joy, fun, peace, and love?




The universe seems comprised of this energy, vibration, and joy.  It seems music can hit that same positive chord in all of us if we just open up to it’s energy sometimes.  STS9’s music at a specially crafted and naturally breath-taking venue like Red Rocks seemed to amplify that realization.  Realized not just in the beautifully crafted songs and musical journey that they performed, but also in the experience of the people I met, and the enticing visuals I saw and tried to capture. The experience loudly brought a sense of peace, maybe a blasting peace, if you will.

There are fans of live music that come to be entertained, and there are some fans of live music that come to share in a musical experience with the artists and fans who create it.  STS9 at Red Rocks was definitely an event suited for both.