Sound Tribe Sector 9, or as they’re better known, STS9, blew away the crowd at the historic Landmark Theatre on April 18th in Syracuse, NY. Sound Tribe’s unparalleled reputation around the music world is not undeserved. This five-piece walks the line between chilled out down tempo beats and more energetic EDM, creating what they call “Post-rock dance music.” But what’s especially impressive is the authentic instrumentation. These gentlemen are not DJ’s: they’re musicians and producers, composers and sound engineers and the evidence is in the recordings. To hear what STS9 is like live, without the swirling delay effects and digital samples, take a listen to their 2009 ‘acoustic’ release, Axe the Cables (1320 Records).
Following a stellar performance by the omnipresent and always delightful Eliot Lipp, STS9 played two sets at about an hour each making the 18th a night to remember for their fans. The first set began energetically, and then alternated between animated dance tracks and restful, sublime beats.
STS9’s “Shock Doctrine”
In fact, one major factor of their show and music in general is balance. Sound Tribe is uniquely balanced for such a labyrinthine setup, sporting a guitarist, bassist, drummer, full percussion, as well as a DJ – and everyone has some manner of digital devices in addition to their instruments. Due to all of this, some might expect one or two, even three instruments to be inaudible due to mixing and/or venue’s acoustics, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Actually, every detail and effect was perfectly poised to stand out when it needed to.
Something that sets STS9 apart from other Electronic Jam bands is the layering of each instrument. Whether it is due to almost every member’s digital equipment in addition to actual instruments or some type of pedal driven mysticism, Sound Tribe is able to build two to three times the amount of sound per instrument than others. Especially in their dance tracks, the bass is large and in charge but not to the detriment of other instruments. Then on the more organic sounding jam tracks, everything sounds that much lighter and clear in the absence of what some may consider overuse of digital instrumentation.
Midway through the first set, the crowd erupted at the introduction to “When the Dust Settles,” which teased into “Into the Rabble” to great applause and elation. Later, “Shock Doctrine,’ ‘Metameme,’ ‘Aimlessly,’ and ‘Golden Gate” boomed as the crowd surged. After what seemed like an eternity of a set break, Sound Tribe took the stage once again. This time, however the vibe had transformed into more of an organic jam based set including “New Soma’ and ‘Breath In.”
STS9’s concert was a win for the band, the crowd, and the venue alike. The opulent Landmark Theatre has been gaining momentum of late, changing gears from Opera and Celtic Women to more diversified acts, including Trey Anastasio, Umphrey’s McGee, and now STS9. What is for sure is neither this band or venue can disappoint.
Written by Peter Destefano
OurVinyl | Contributor
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