Tag Archives: STS9

4th Annual Suwanne Hulaween – Stringier Things

4th Annual Suwannee Hulaween – Stringier Things
October 28th – 30th, 2016
Photographer/Writer: Brad Kuntz

It’s almost time for the 4th Suwannee Hulaween. The past three years Suwannee Hulaween has hosted some of the best music, scenery and good times many have experienced at a music festival. This year will no doubt be a grand time, with seven sets of The String Cheese Incident spread out over the three-day main event and a pre-party with EOTO on Thursday. Last year’s Hulaween attendance broke records at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, but this year, tickets are limited to only 20,000.

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This will be the first time My Morning Jacket will play at the Music Park. After seeing and hearing their stellar set at Lockn Fest in August, (MMJ stole that festival) everyone is looking forward to their performance. Other notable bands include Umphrey’s McGee, STS9, Big Gigantic (feat. The Motet), The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Gramatik, Lettuce, Greensky Bluegrass, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Snarky Puppy, The Revivalists, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.

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The art installations, live paintings and decorations that are scattered throughout the park seem to get better each year, the creativity is unsurpassed. Spirit Lake is a treat in itself with the spectacular light show that lasts all night long, casting patterns of color onto the tall cypress trees and the long tangles of dangling Spanish moss and the adult playground in a Spirit lake area with its own stage, fire dancers, fire statues, swing sets, moving lights, mazes, and mouths to sit in and pose with, landscape art and much more.

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The costume theme is “Stringier Things”, which will celebrate vintage 1980s supernatural horror / pop culture, inspired by the Netflix TV Show “Stranger Things”. We can’t wait to see what kind of creatively kooky costumes are on display!

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2015 Ghoul Train Hulaween

2015 Ghoul Train Hulaween

Spirit of the Suwannee

Live Oaks, Florida

Photographer: Brad Kuntz

Writer: James Kastriches

 

If your Halloween wasn’t spent at Suwannee this year, you really missed out, the third annual Hulaween, in Live Oak, Florida was by far the best Hulaween to date, a complete success in every way. This year the festival topped all other festival attendance at the park to date breaching 21,000 freaky people!

 

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The weather was breathtaking, compared to last year’s bone chilling nights, cloudy but in the upper 70’s for the duration of the weekend.  It actually was a bit too humid during the day the 2nd half of the weekend but bearable.

 

The art installations, live paintings and decorations that are scattered throughout the park seem to get better each year, the creativity is unsurpassable. Spirit Lake is a treat in itself with the spectacular light show that lasts all night long, casting patterns of color onto the tall cypress trees and the long tangles of dangling Spanish moss and the adult playground in a Spirit lake area with its own stage, fire dancers, fire statures, swing sets, moving lights, mazes and mouths to sit in and pose with, landscape art and much more.

 

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This year’s lineup was stacked, capable to suit all. Bluegrass, EDM, Jam rock, whatever you wanted, was only a stage away, at most times. With headliners String Cheese Incident (of course..7 sets), Railroad Earth, Pretty Lights, Primus, STS9, Slightly Stoopid, Lettuce, Elephant Revival, Papadosio, etc.

 

The Thursday night pre-party included 5 bands on the amphitheater stage.  A relatively light crowd compared to the weekend, making a slightly more intimate setting. EOTO really got the party started, the duo made up of Jason Hann and Michael Travis of SCI, the dynamic drummer/percussion duo, paying their version of electronic jam.

 

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Dumpstaphunk donned costumes and had an epic cover of Ramble On.  Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, arguably the best touring Grateful Dead “cover band” with an all-star cast super group of musicians, playing their own twist of Dead tunes, belted out a spectacular  Estimated Prophet (SM) -> Eyes Of The World (TH) -> The Music Never Stopped -> Jam # -> The Music Never Stopped Reprise +-> Jam $ -> Help On The Way (TH) -> Myxomatosis Jam %+ -> Slipknot! -> China Cat Sunflower Jam +-> Jam ^ -> China Cat Sunflower to end the evening around camp fires, guitars and Spirit lake and stars.

 

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Friday got started on the Main stage with Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds followed by Railroad Earth and then The String Cheese Incident.  After just finishing up fall tour, The String Cheese Incident are absolutely on top of their game, pulling out rare treats, musicianship is top notch.  Cheese started off Friday with ‘Song in my head’, followed by ‘Can’t wait another day’. Tim Carbone and Todd Sheaffer of Railroad Earth sat in for ‘Sometimes a River’, a song Keith Moseley and Todd Sheaffer co-wrote in 2005 in Colorado.  It was clear the barefoot boys wanted to get those songs out of the way and get straight to the jam. The rarely played ‘Indian Creek’ had an appearance, as well as Kang’s rendition of the old tune, ‘red haired boy’: ‘Valley of the Jig’. ‘Round the wheel’ had some really psychedelic elements in the middle of the song that were really unique, as a huge fan, it’s most definitely my favorite version that I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing.  ‘On the road’ also had some killer jams added to its usual sound.

 

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The second set started out strong with a funky ‘Colliding’. This set was packed full of fan favorites such as, ‘Restless Wind’, Joyful Sound, Mouna Bowa. Shantytown was a favorite of the night, for obvious reasons, it’s such a fitting song for Suwannee.  We got a Zeppelin cover for the encore, ‘Ramble On’, an excellent way to end the first incident. 

 

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Primus and Pretty Lights closed out the night at the Amphitheater and Main stages, the grounds were peaking out, it was nearly overflowing onto the pavement at Primus and hard to see much if you didn’t get there early.  Likewise at Pretty lights the field was completely packed like never before at this venue from stage to vendors and very difficult to traverse once it packed it.  Both sets were amazing and full of energy.  Primus played classics including Wynona’s Big Brown Beaver, American Life, My Name is Mud and Jerry was a Racecar Driver.  Pretty Lights had a lot of very nice lights and tons of energy from the crowd.  There was no stopping the tall flags and polls in the crowd at this show even though they were supposedly banned at this years festival.  Jon Stickley and Friends played on the Spirit lake Stage until 4am, a great performance to close out the live music

 

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Saturday Halloween..

Bluegrass started the day off at the main stage, first with the Jon Stickley trio beginning the dat as it had ended the night before.  The the Sam Bush Band.  With a Slightly Stupid detour to the Amphitheater Stage, it was SCI again for an epic Hulaween three set stand at the main stage.   ‘Dudleys Kitchen’ (classic cheese instrumental) started things off and got everyone moving! The favorite from the first set was “XAI”, formerly known as “Skat”, another instrumental jam, with Kang heavy on the fiddle. Only the 3rd time played all tour, and only the 3rd time played in the last 10 years!  Such a welcomed appearance. A first set ‘Rivertrance’ was also a nice Halloween treat. Michael Kang told us before walking off stage for a brief intermission, “I hope yall are wearing your fucking bell bottoms!”

 

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Set 2, (the Halloween set), was a straight up disco, it was simply incredible. The boys came out dressed in their late 70’s-early 80’s attire, Afros and all. Along with a horn section and people professional dancers dancing on each side of the stage with RZA (from Wutang) as emcee. The crowd went nuts as the 1977 classic ‘Brick House’ began. The whole set was all songs from the disco era, that everyone whose anyone is familiar with, ‘Carwash’, ‘Dance to the music’, ‘Got to be real’, ‘I’m your boogie man’ a much different Halloween set than we’re used to seeing.

 

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Set 3 began with the fiddle tune “Bollymunster”, waking everyone back up from the set break and it was all Gouda from there, ‘Desert Dawn’, ‘Best feeling’, ‘Exodus’, ‘Rosie’ this set was a heater. The encore was special, a ‘Signed, sealed, delivered, I’m yours’ followed by ‘We are family’

 

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We closed the night with a set from the New Mastersounds at the Spirit lake Stage.

 

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Sunday Last Day

Following a main stage opener Sunday morning from Elephant Revival, Billy Nershi announced to us that they were feeling “A little rough around the edges” as they took the stage on Sunday afternoon, and that this was the “hangover set.” But it was in every way one of the favorite parts of the festival, since it was a bluegrass hoedown! With guests Sam Bush, Railroad Earth, Elephant revival on nearly every song on the first set. The set list was out of this world, for a die-hard cheeser. Opening with a stellar version of a Flatt & Scruggs cover ‘Blue Ridge Cabin Home’.

‘Lester had a Coconut’ was dusted off, and it sounded great. It’s been years since they’ve pulled that one out of the bag. The hangover set was literally full of bluegrass favorites, ‘Catfish John’, 9 pound hammer’, ‘Will the circle be unbroken’.

 

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They wrapped up their last set with a smaller but killer set, ‘Little Hands’, ‘Outside and Inside’, followed by ‘Windy Mountain’, ‘Bumpin Reel’ and ‘Colorado Bluebird Sky’, with a Bob Marley cover/encore ‘Could you be loved’. A perfect way to close their final act.

 

Lettuce played an stellar set at the amphitheater stage with some new songs off their latest album.

 

STS9 closed out the main stage as they had a the first Suwanee Hulaween three years before.  With a new female bass player  Alana Rocklin  and Zach Velmer the drummer (arguably the hardest working band member and musician in general) along with tons of crowd energy and crazy awesome light show, played jam based electronic jam.  Starting off with a favorite ‘Vapors’ and ‘Inspire Strikes Back’ and closing with ‘World Go Round’ and ‘Instantly’, the only thing wrong was it was just barely a warm up.

 

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Once again, this was the best festival put on a Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and in a dead heat for best festival on land these days.  We will all be back next year!

Sound Tribe Sector 9 – Pittsburgh, PA

Sound Tribe Sector 9

Stage AE

Pittsburgh, PA

10/10/14

 

SET I: 4 Year Puma > F Word, Gobnugget, The Rabble, Equinox, Vibyl, Only Light Remains, Circus

SET II: Evasive Maneuvers, 20-12, Golden Gate, Hidden Hand Hidden Fist, The Paint, Frequencies Peace 2 > 3, World Go Round, When The Dust Settles

ENCORE: Music Us, Dance, Crystal Instrument > World Go Round Reprise > Crystal Instrument

 

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High Sierra Music Festival 2014

High Sierra Music Festival
Quincy, California
July 3-6, 2014

The 24th annual High Sierra Music Festival took place over the 4th of July weekend in beautiful Quincy, California. The weather was hot and so was the music; with diverse genres like rock, electronica, roots, jazz, bluegrass, country, and blues, there was something to please every taste.

Headliners Widespread Panic delivered a blistering two-set performance, and STS9 went back to their roots with old school musicality. Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Hard Working Americans bringing good ole whiskey fueled R’nR, while Lettuce and Turquaz brought the funky dance party. Meanwhile, the classic jazzy stylings of legends Bill Frisell and Ernest Ranglin delighted the jazzbos. Del McCoury and Greensky Bluegrass represented the grassy side of things well.

Next year for the silver anniversary High Sierra will once again stoke the family vibe plus provide some surprises for 2015.

Click the thumbnails to check out Susan Weiand’s shots from the weekend!

Mayan Holidaze 2013 Set for December 16-20

Cloud 9 Adventures is proud to announce the details of the legendary Mayan Holidaze! In its seventh year, this long standing destination event in the Cloud 9 family (which also includes the always sold-out Jam Cruise, Holy Ship!!! Strings & Sol and Panic en la Playa), is a fan favorite featuring host bands The Disco Biscuits, Umphrey’s McGee and STS9 for four nights on December 16-20, 2013. Mayan Holidaze has taken place in a variety of exotic locations over its long history, last year making a pilgrimage to Tulum in honor of the Mayan shift in 2012. This year’s edition returns to the beautiful Now Sapphire in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.

Located in the small fishing town of Puerto Morelos, 20 minutes south of Cancun in the Mayan Riviera, Now Sapphire is a first-class all-inclusive resort that boasts spacious suites, an incredible on-site spa and gourmet restaurants, and of course, stunning ocean views. Mayan Holidaze offers music fans a genuine luxury vacation relaxing on the beach with friends by day while listening to their favorite bands on the beach by night.

Each of the three hosting bands will play 3 shows by each band with details to be announced later in the year, along with additional support acts/special guests.

The all-inclusive luxury lodging packages for Now Sapphire are available for an intimate number of lucky fans. Check-in begins on December 16, 2013 and the music kicks off that night.

Event details are as follows:
There will be a pre-sale for returning Mayan Holidaze guests on April 23-24. If any rooms remain from the Pre-Sale the packages will go on sale to the general public beginning April 25 at 12:00 PM ET at www.mayanholidaze.com .

Packages for the all-inclusive resort starts at $1,299 per person, with oceanfront doubles starting at $1749 for per person. In addition, a select few Stage front rooms are being offered for fans who want to experience the shows right from the comfort of their own balcony overlooking the stage.

Look for announcements to come including artist hosted activities, ways of giving back to the community with Positive Legacy and more!

For fans who wish to extend their stay, Cloud 9 Adventures is offering a special discounted rate for those guests who want to add an extra day before and/or after the event for $189.00 a night per person*. These rates are available for Dec. 15 and Dec. 20, 21 and 22, 2013 only. For more information and to book a room, please visit www.mayanholidaze.com .

*Pre / Post night rates are based on double occupancy. Presidential Suites are subject to different rates and must be booked with Cloud 9 over the phone, based on availability.

STS9 bumps in Charlotte

Sound Tribe Sector 9
The Fillmore
Charlotte, NC
October 25, 2012

Sound Tribe Sector 9 stirred up the music scene when they announced their Great Cycles Spectacles 2012 fall tour. They kicked off tour at the nostalgic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, a honky-tonk hub, and dropped some classic tunes there like “Kamuy,” “Somesing,” “Be Nice” and the “Breathe In” encore.

However, the Nashville setlist was merely a warmup for what they delivered to Charlotte at the Fillmore.

Located in the NC Music Factory, an entertainment district along the outskirts of downtown Charlotte, The Fillmore is a great place to catch good tunes. Driving into the Music Factory, a silhouette of Charlotte’s luminescent skyline welcomes you to “The Queen City.” Outside of the ridiculous drink prices, the Fillmore itself its a beautiful venue with several levels of viewing or dance room pleasure, and the venue’s chandeliers provided the perfect atmosphere for the magic.

STS9 opened up the evening with “Activation,” one of their newer songs. The whole room vibrate with sound as David Murphy’s bass ricocheted off the walls. It was great to see Murphy back on stage jamming with his cohorts after his break to undergo chemotherapy.

The energy of the crowd really started to get going when they played one of their groovier tunes, “Grow.” They also covered “Shakedown Street,” a Grateful Dead tune they debuted during the 2010 Denver New Years run that was a pleasant surprise for many Tribe and Dead fans. They closed out the first set with an “Arigato” that dropped everyone down to their knees, wanting more.

During set break, the majority of the people made their way out onto the patio to regroup. The community music creates really stuck out at this show in particular. People conversed with friends old and new.

The second set started and percussionist Jeffree Lerner really upped the energy during “Inspire Strikes Back.” It was a truly heartwarming sight to see everyone in the room getting down, huge smiles on every face.

STS9’s light master Saxton Waller is back on tour with them, and the whole ambiance of the show was on point. His lights were perfectly in sync with the music, creating a symmetrically stellar audio and visual experience.

“Rent” and “EHM” also made appearances in the second set, two staples that seem to never get old. They closed out the show with “Ramone & Emiglio,” giving David Phipps time to shine on the keys.

Many STS9 fans who have been listening to their music since the early 2000s are not pleased with the direction the band has taken over the past several years. Their sound use to be more directly related to funk, jazz, jam and improv, and their most recent albums Peace Blaster and When the Dust Settles almost sounds like a different band – more computers and less organic, instrumental sounds.

At the Fillmore, though, they did a great job of incorporating old tracks with new ones. Some of the newer songs were interestingly catchy and flowed well with the whole performance. Overall, the show was a success for the band and the audience.

Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Brad Kuntz…

Uniting the Past and Present of Music Revolution: Moogfest 2011

As the leaves changed colors and the temperatures began to fall, Moogfest made its triumphant return to the southern avant-garde city of Asheville, NC.

Though only in its second year under its current management and in its new home, the event has quickly become recognized by artists, music industry elites, and fans as being one of the most unique and truly revolutionary festivals in the land. Through its incorporation of some of the most eclectic music from the past four decades and music workshops open to all who are curious about the impact of musical inventions and work, coupled with the fact that the event’s attendees are also privy to Asheville’s native food-savvy culture as well as a plethora of art instillations all over the city, it is the complete sensory experience that sets the festival apart in a world of an ever-expanding market.

 

In short, Moogfest is a place where young and old gather to celebrate the extent of human genius in the world of music, and the one place where it’s not unusual to see Beetlejuice booty dancing with a unicorn.

Tucked away in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, the three day event celebrates the legacy of music guru Bob Moog, who forever transformed how listeners and artists experience music; and though using Moog equipment isn’t a prerequisite for being on the bill, the lineup focuses on those artists who have worked to be creative and push the future of musical innovation. Perhaps Flaming Lips front man Wayne Coyne said it best when he said “[the festival] is about being a fucking weirdo and just going for it.”

Friday

Friday began with a whirlwind of excitement. Fans from the previous year’s event turned out to greet faces of new alike as all set out to explore the playground that Asheville had become.

The newest addition to the festival this year included an outdoor stage, something which proved tricky in Asheville’s chilly fall nights, and cause many to relinquish elaborate costume ideas that they had pondered on in the weeks leading up to the event. But this is not to say that the campy spirit was entirely broken by the elements; there were still costumes abound, with the likes of giant Muppets battling aliens and a plethora of girls in neon wigs.

The first show of the day was a surprisingly energetic performance by Matthew Dear. Despite the less than warm weather, the debonair Dear and his squad of well-dressed musicians got the crowd moving enough to forget the unforgiving cold. The charismatic –and typically oxymoronic — enjoyable pop music set the stage for a positive night. The weather, however, continued to get worse as Mayer Hawthorne & The County took stage.

The Michigan based eclectic soul group made good humor of the situation and pleaded with the crowd to not laugh if they fell on the wet stage in the increasing downpour.

German electronic group Tangerine Dream has served as an influential paramount act since the late 60s. With over one hundred studio albums, Tangerine Dream is just one of those acts you can’t miss. The set provided equal opportunity in regards to whether one chose to dance to the groove being put forth or simply sit back and take in the ethereal and otherworldly music. One of the members commented how Moogfest was “one of the best prog fests on the planet right now” and commemorated Bob Moog as not only “just a technician, but a philosopher and a visionary.”

For those who needed something more upbeat than the solemn Tangerine Dream, Canadian electronic band Holy F**k provided a more rage-friendly scene. The incredible thing about this band is the manner in which they create their music. Their use of many instruments and random objects to pull off the computerized sounds without actually using the tools we’ve become accustomed to such as laptops and samplers, was a sight and sound to behold and for which many long.

As if this wasn’t enough, at the conclusion of Holy F**k’s set, Moby, the man who needs no introduction, made his entrance before the Moog masses.

Having been a critical piece to dance music over the past 20 years, the performer did not disappoint. Though personally skeptical in regards to how the music would work in live translation, my doubt was shortly put to rest as I was quickly blown away and whisked back to the days of “We Are All Made of Stars” and “Natural Blues.”

Throughout the set, the pioneer demonstrated that the performance was just as special for him as it was for those that were bearing witness, evidenced by his bountiful expressions of gratitude between every number. Joining him on stage was the lovely and supremely talented Inyang Bassey, whose voice became the centerpiece of Moby’s iconic music.

Saturday

Festival goers who attended Saturday seemed more prepared for Asheville’s blustery onset of an early winter. Most turned out more properly bundled, having made   alterations to their costumes in order to accommodate for the low temperatures. This preparation was at least partially responsible for an increase in the overall energy of the crowd, especially for the outdoor sets.

Dan Deacon, who famously created a mass dance scene at last year’s festival brought his antics yet again when he invoked an insanely long human dance tunnel for people to show off their moves in.

If Deacon’s costumed dance party didn’t get the crowd riled up, then certainly the spirited performance by Crystal Castles did the trick. Vocalist Alice Glass stole the show even though her lyrics were often drowned out by the music. But regardless of less than perfect sound mixing, Glass’s stage presents — which included frequently spitting whiskey onto the crowd — mixed with the heavy light show made for an incredible spectacle to observe.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, the Flaming Lips spectacle is one that is quite predictable. This said, it remains one of the most energetic and sensory overloaded experiences in the live music world of the day.

With an entrance no less than brazenly flamboyant, the crowd went wild as the band members walked out of the giant, flashing nether regions of a previously dancing nude woman. Continuously, front man Wayne Coyne – a festival connoisseur, no doubt –   praised Moogfest as being one of the best festivals in existence; even going as far as far as to encourage festival newcomers to “just stick with this fest, since nothing else could possible top the experience.”

At one point, an attempt was made to raise the spirit of Bob Moog to join the party. Between every song, Coyne had quite a lot to say to the audience, which at times seemed tedious due to the fact that fans wanted to hear more music. But in spite of the amount of conversation, the rainbow warzone that is a Flaming Lips show marked itself as something to remember. With an Emerson, Lake & Palmer cover and a solo performed on an iPad, the Lips exhibition was once again enjoyable as most suspected it would be.

One of the most anticipated acts of the festival, Amon Tobin was a prime example of ingenuity most prized by the spirit of Moogfest. The live show — which stands to transform the future of the concert experience — features an unusual structure made of large cubes that display intricate projections that are visually mapped upon the performance and in sync with the music put forth by Tobin, who performs from within the construction.

Words cannot do justice in regards to adequately representing the experience of witnessing the sight of machines seemingly break through cubes into constellations that dance harder to the music than the audience. While not the biggest act of the festival, Amon Tobin:ISAM had the large Civic Center packed full of old fans as well as new ones eager to see this creation.

Probably the most hyped shows of the festival was 70’s electronic punk band Suicide. Set to perform their debut album in it’s entirety for only the fourth time, there was a lot of chatter about the show. Even Flaming Lips front man, Wayne Coyne, got on the promosexual bandwagon, telling his audience that “this was the show to see.” While certainly a historic event, the show was not nearly as energetic as it once was. Then again, with a lead singer of who has surpassed his seventh decade on the earth, who can critique them on a lack on vigor?

Festival staple, Sound Tribe Sector 9 has been gaining insane momentum since the welcomed recovery of band member David Murphy. With a packed house, the genre-crossing psychedelic rock band put a heavy focus on their new material from the album When the Dust Settles. It was a unique set that allowed die hard fans to dance the night away as well as those exhausted from a full day in the cold to relax and enjoy the enthralling show.

While not one of the larger names of the festival, one treat I stumbled upon was Brandt Brauer Frick all the way from Berlin. This group, labeling themselves as “acoustic techno” closed out Saturday night with one of the most unique sets of the day. While it is hard to wrap your mind around the sound of “acoustic techno” the high energy trio created something akin to aboriginal club music, and the crowd lapped up with a vengeance.

Sunday

As Sunday morning came around, what should have been a tired and weary crowd came out in droves of bright eyed, excited groups in even more costumes than before. Beats Antique was the first big show of the day, and despite the weather not improving, Zoe Jakes was still able to take to the stage in lavish belly dance garb and shimmy her way into the hearts of the crowd. The most tantalizing act included whirling feats coupled with a haunting mask. And to the pleasure of anyone who has seen their recent shows, they ended with their every growing onstage animal party that both confuses and excites.

M83 was a huge surprise hit this year. The immediate phrase that came to mind was “dance club of your dreams.” Song after song, the group performed powerful synthesized tunes that seemed so much larger than what I believed possible in relation to their albums.

The persistently touring EOTO brought improved visuals that included joyously dancing robots and eyeballs to a packed Orange Peel. The ever developing improv brain child of String Cheese Incident’s Michael Travis and Jason Hann took a diverse world fusion dub that was both intriguing and fun to dance to. This, however, couldn’t compete with the show I was personally most excited about: Special Disco Version featuring James Murphy and Pat Mahoney.

With the recent demise of the infamous LCD Soundsystem super group, Moogfest fans who requested this influential band were given the extraordinary pleasure of this set. Even those who would not identify as a fan of disco were drawn into the atmosphere created. With futuristic aerial dancers hanging high above the crowd, roller-skating girls with LED afros and a massive disco ball that would make Studio 54 blush with envy, Murphy and Mahoney kept the high energy up until the very end.  It was a refreshing and gripping show for anyone — and there were many at Moog — that refuse to let disco die.

With the task of following a show like that, who else could perform but Austin, Texas based electro-funk duo,  Ghostland Observatory. Stealing the hearts and retinas of the audience, singer Aaron Behrens bounced around the stage while a caped Thomas Turner created an acoustically impressive show that was only rivaled by their renowned laser show. Executing an exceptional version of crowd favorite “Sad, Sad City,” the set continually pushed the bar and became another example of technological innovation in music capitulated by the festival on its whole.

With all of the music, raging, dancing and the like, the biggest pleasure of the festival happened to be — at best — only loosely related to the aforementioned; it was the presence of the modern Renaissance Man, Brian Eno, who NPR fondly dubbed the title “Mayor of Moogfest.” Presenting his exhibit, 77 Million Paintings — Eno’s exploration into light as an artist’s medium and the aesthetic possibilities of “generative software” — for the first time on the east coast at the YMI Cultural Center. In so presenting, Eno managed to add an all new element to the already abundant sensory experience that was and is Moogfest.

Within his Illustrated Talk, fans were graced with the insights and power of his newest creation as well as Eno’s astute and humorous thoughts on the future of technology in music and art. The exhibit, which Eno explains as exploring the relationship between time and attention to investigate the “threshold of eventlessness,” seems simplistic at first  but quickly sucked its audience into a deep and powerful experience that was quite unexpected.

Set within a dark room, viewers were sat in plush couches and exposed to a multifaceted and ever-evolving environment that strikes a deep primitive and almost ethereal cord. Despite the name, the number of paintings is something closer to 100 million…cubed.

“The piece you just really loved will never happen again.”

-Brian Eno

The addition of mastermind Brian Eno to the cumulative experience of Moogfest helped to set this festival one more step above expectations.

The exhibit will remain open to the public until November 30, 2011.

And as we say goodbye to another Moogfest and look back on all it has done and all it celebrates, it becomes increasingly impressive how remarkable the life and work of Bob Moog was. His work changed our relationship to music and how it interacts with our lives; and celebrating that on Halloween weekend in Asheville was the perfect fit.

 

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the fest by Brad Kuntz

 

STS9, 10/22/11

STS9
Best Buy Theater
New York City, NY
October 22, 2011

On a crisp fall evening, STS9 played a sold-out show in the heart of Times Square at the Best Buy Theater.  As the house lights dropped, a familiar beat came over the PA, as though a champion fighter would soon enter the ring. Shortly after the beat — which unfolded into Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” –  the Santa Cruz (by way of Atlanta) quintet took the stage before the packed house.

Making their way through thick smoke and red lights, the band had picked up their respective instruments and took the aforementioned groove a touch deeper.

Having a New York City crowd locked in from the word “go” is a daunting task, but STS9 successfully kept the crowd in their comfortable grip for the remainder of the show with older songs like “Squares & Cubes”  that were as well received as the youthful numbers such as “When The Dust Settles.”

Throughout the evening, the band and the audience seemed very much a part of the same organism, and while the onstage painters, crystals, and floral arrangements of old were absent, the band’s passion for creating new sounds was still ever-present.

 

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Andrew Scott Blackstein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STS9 gets ready to hit the road, new album on the way

STS9 is ramping up for a busy fall season.  The band, who recently rocked Lollapalooza's Main Stage and hosted the festival's hottest official after party, announce their fall tour dates and Colorado New Year's shows. Look for the guys to head into some of the country's best indoor venues during the month of October, and to wrap up the year at downtown Denver's Wells Fargo Theatre. Also this fall, a new studio release – details to be announced soon.

This past June STS9's boutique record label 1320 Records released STS9's Peaceblaster : The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes.  The album, a benefit project for the Make It Right Foundation, features 30 artists including Pretty Lights, The Glitch Mob, Count Bass D, Richard Devine, Eskmo, Alex B., Ronald Jenkees and many others remixing original material from STS9's highly acclaimed recent studio release, PEACEBLASTER. The release is available at www.1320records.com and at iTunes.

September 25 Earthdance Festival Laytonville, CA 

October 2 Austin City Limits Music Festival AND Stubbs BBQ Austin, TX

October 6 Liberty Hall  Lawrence, KS
October 7 Sokol Auditorium  Omaha, NE
October 8 First Avenue  Minneapolis, MN
October 9 Eagles Ballroom  Milwaukee, WI
October 10  Murat Egyptian Room  Indianapolis, IN
October 14  Brown Theatre  Louisville, KY
October 15  Newport Music Hall  Columbus, OH
October 16  The Orbit Ballroom  Grand Rapids, MI
October 17  Town Ballroom  Buffalo, NY
October 18  Revolution Hall  Troy, NY
October 21  The Klein Theatre  Bridgeport, CT
October 22  House of Blues  Boston, MA
October 23  Terminal Five  New York City, NY
October 24  Electric Factory  Philadelphia, PA
October 25  Ram's Head Live  Baltimore, MD
October 28 Tennessee Theatre Knoxville TN
October 29 Thomas Wolfe Auditorium Asheville NC
October 30 Alabama Theatre Birmingham AL
October 31 War Memorial Auditorium Nashville TN
December 29 June Swaner Gates Concert Hall Denver, CO
December 30 Wells Fargo Theatre  Denver, CO
December 31 Wells Fargo Theatre  Denver, CO
January 2 Revolution Live  Fort Lauderdale, FL

Continue reading STS9 gets ready to hit the road, new album on the way

Berkeley’s Greek Theatre bids farewell to the Cheese!

 

String Cheese Incident
William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre
Berkeley, California
July 21 & 22, 2007

 

 

After August 12, 2007, the String Cheese Incident (SCI), a beloved band 15 years in the making, will be no more.  But before that fateful day arrives, SCI will give many concerts in some of their favorite and most frequented venues across the United States.

Fresh off the plane after performing at the 10,000 Lakes Festival as the replacement act for scheduled headliner Trey Anastasio, SCI performed two shows at the William Randolph Hearst Greek Theatre.  Nestled into the lush green hillside of the University of California – Berkeley campus, the venue known locally as the Greek Theatre gives off a warm, welcoming energy to all who enter her gates.  Tall, venerable eucalyptus and pine trees surround the venue, which dates to 1903 and some college kids are even lucky enough to have a view inside from their dormitories.

 

Saturday, July 21

 

Upon entering the classic Roman outdoor amphitheatre mid-afternoon on Saturday, July 21, concert attendees noticed the unique open-air loading and equipment area on stage, the large combined capacity (8,500) of the floor, as well as seating and grass sections.  Opening acts the Disco Biscuits and Sound Tribe Sector Nine (STS9) were allowed rather long sets, filling in the floor area with their fans.

As SCI took the stage, an ethereal glow enveloped the area as the sun passed behind the columned background of the stage.  Thousands of ecstatic, colorful Cheese fans gave a loud welcome to the band as they began to play the jubilant Jean-Luc Ponty song “Mouna Bowa.”  The song was a perfect opener for the evening, complementing the ideal temperate climate and lighthearted energy of the crowd.

Bringing out the Stevie Wonder classic “I Wish,” SCI elevated the energy into a groove only a Stevie song could inspire.  Moving into bluegrass, Billy Nershi led the band with crisp, quick vocals on “Love is Like a Train” with Kyle Hollingsworth pounding out some saloon-inspired piano.

The very elegant Latin jazz influenced Hollingsworth song “MLT” was absolutely flawless (even with Nershi grinding the air with his hips) making the crowd focus on the quality musicianship of the band.  Giving Cheese fans a (figurative) dose of ecstasy, SCI played a ridiculously fast-paced version of the traditional bluegrass song “I Know You Rider” with percussionist Jason Hann playing a washboard, into Bob Marley’s “Stir it Up” and back into “I Know You Rider” to close the first set.

Unfortunately during the second set some audio-related problems could be heard randomly through the speakers, but by the end the problem had been resolved.  The first highlight of the second set came during “Desert Dawn” when Aron Magner and Jon Gutwillig of the Disco Biscuits joined SCI, adding electronica and distortion elements into the mix of the 15-minute version of the song.

The second highlight came with fan favorite “Way Back Home” into the instrumental “Birdland,” which displayed Hollingsworth’s abilities on keys, Keith Moseley’s steady funky bass rhythms, and Michael Travis’ perfect time on drums.

Up on the highest level of the amphitheatre – the grass area – another world opened up to fans.  Backlit by the silver shining crescent moon, dozens of hula hoopers displayed their graceful dance.  The band played tribute to their friend and sometimes musical guest Keller Williams with a solid performance of “Best Feeling,” which blended back into “Way Back Home.”

During both sets, Hann was all smiles, bursting with positive energy and making a real connection with the crowd.  SCI ended the show with the fan favorite “Search” displaying Michael Kang’s mastery of the violin.  The crowd couldn’t have been more satisfied, giving loud applause and shouts of approval, but then again, most in attendance were also looking forward to the next show.

 

Sunday, July 22

 

Showtime on Sunday, July 22, was much earlier with the contemporary bluegrass group Hot Buttered Rum String Band (HBRSB) taking the first opening slot around noon.  Nershi came on stage with his acoustic guitar for the band’s final two songs, “Honkeytonk Tequilia” and “Cumberland Blues.”

The floor area filled as the seasoned second opener, Railroad Earth (RRE), took the stage following HBRSB.  The band, with their heartfelt lyrics and delicate bluegrass sound, always touches audience members in a rather unusual way.  Nershi, on his electric guitar, joined RRE on their last song, “Mourning Flies.”

The sun was high and the air was hot as SCI took the stage on Sunday afternoon.  The energy of the crowd and band was intense and quite different than on the previous evening.  Murmurs of hope for a bluegrass-focused show could be heard amongst the crowd.  SCI opened with the mellow “Shine,” allowing the crowd and the guys a chance to ease into the glorious day.

Cheese fans were treated to some of their favorites such as “Jellyfish,” “Black Clouds,” and “Farther” during the sets.  Throughout the show, SCI invited members of the opening bands and later the entire bands up to share the stage with them, heightening the onstage energy to a level most in the crowd had never experienced before.

Watching each band member’s mutual adoration and appreciation of one another’s talents was almost enough to make onlookers tear-up.  The culmination of the show and various collaborations came at the end of the second set when SCI announced that they were going to have “A Hot Buttered Railroad Incident.”

SCI couldn’t figure out where HBRSB members had disappeared to saying, “No, it’s the Hot Buttered Guys who are all drugged out and wasted.”  Once they emerged, the never-before-seen Incident played a bluegrass version of the classic Christian tune “Whiskey Before Breakfast” about which Nershi commented, “This is what you call a cluster pluck.”  The intense breakdown jam at the end was too fast to keep up with dancing.

The Incident went right into The Carter Family tune “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”  With so many people onstage, Nershi or Kang signaled to the individual musicians for their solo parts.  The multi-vocal harmonies and insane interweaving of instruments proved that a huge group of immensely talented musicians can come together with precision.  SCI thanked the other bands and played “Smile” as the second encore of the show.

SCI was much more in touch with the crowd on Sunday night.  Before the second encore, Nershi gazed out at the crowd as the fans stood in disbelief at what they had just been part of and witnessed.  As the night concluded, the crowd felt overjoyed when he said, “You guys seem to think we’re pretty cool. But … watching all you guys just let go and dance your asses off, you are the true heroes.”

 

7/21:

Set One: Mouna Bowa, I Wish, Love Is Like A Train, Sometimes A River, Turn This Around, MLT > Drums > Rain > I Know You Rider > Stir It Up > I Know You Rider

Set Two: Eye Know Why > Looking Glass > Desert Dawn*, The Way You Do The Things Yo Do > Way Back Home > Birdland > Best Feeling > Way Back Home

Encore: Search

* with Jon Gutwillig and Aron Magner (Disco Biscuits)

 

7/22:

Set One: Shine, Little Hands > Dudley’s Kitchen, I’ll Fly Away*, The Walls Of Time*, Black Market > Jellyfish > Black Clouds

Set Two: Piece Of Mine > Bumpin’ Reel, Farther, Long Way To Go^, Sweet Melinda^ > Lovelight Jam > What A Day That Was > It Is What It Is

Encore One: Whiskey Before Breakfast*^ Will The Circle Be Unbroken*^

Encore Two: Smile

* with Hot Buttered Rum String Band

^ with Railroad Earth

 

String Cheese Incident, 7/21-22/07 || Berkeley, CA @ the Greek Theatre

All photos by Keith Berson / keithberson.com

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