Get Loud! Last year Sound Tribe Sector 9 released The Universe Inside, their first studio album since 2011. The release is the first to feature their 2014 addition Alana Rocklin. The band decided to celebrate the album and a nearly twenty year career with the Get Loud Tour, which stopped at the Pageant this Thursday night. The Midwest leg of the tour featured special guests Jaw Gems from Portland, Maine. The fans filed in early, each donning their own unique Tribe apparel, ready for a night of jams.
Jaw Gems opened up with a set that was both psychedelic and heavily rhythmic. The band is signed to 1320 Records, STS9’s self-owned record label which has also has released tracks by Russ Liquid, TAUK, and Big Gigantic. HEATWEAVER is their latest release from the label. Their music is self-described as Drip Hop/Acid Jazz, and it has a surprisingly dance-y arrhythmic sound. They really explore the possibilities of what they can do with music when you forgo limitations. Jaw Gems is definitely a jam band, but they kept the energy high and the people moving.
The band’s influences range from Flying Lotus to Washed Out, taking inspiration from multiple genres and styles. Their aim is to bring the characteristics of beat-makers to a live band set up, and they definitely achieve that goal. Jaw Gems is a band for lazy Saturday afternoons laying on your bedroom floor with a good friend. Their music creates a very chill and comfortable atmosphere without losing the groove.
As the stage cleared for STS9 there was a tangible energy in the room. Anyone who has seen them perform before can tell you that it is an experience you will never forget. For the last 20 years Sound Tribe has been garnering adoring fans with their out of this world instrumentals. The Universe Inside is definitely a new era for the group, with a heavy focus on vocals and disco beats. At first the different sound seems out of character for the group, but once heard live the new songs blend seamlessly into their traditional lineup. STS9 is composed of Hunter Brown (Guitars/Keys), Jeffree Lerner (Percussion), David Phipps (Keyboards), Zach Velmer (Drums), and Alana Rocklin (Bass). Alana has been performing with the band for over three years now and has quickly become the favorite for many Tribe fans.
Attending STS9’s show is like taking a trip to another astral plane. Their multilayered soundscape quickly pulls you in to a trance, leaving you hungry for more at the end of each song. Their performance was divided up into two 8 song sets, separated by an intermission. The first set included a mix of classic and newly songs, which varied greatly from their last stop in the Lou. It is hard to not jam along with STS9, and the members have just as much fun as the crowd. After two decades they have not lost their collaborative energy on stage. They playfully interact with each other and the audience, keeping the vibe elevated.
At intermission it seems almost impossible for them to top the first set, but STS9 is not one to disappoint. The second set brought an even higher energy and stepped up the light show bringing their performance to full force. They also performed their new song Enceladus for the first time at a live show, a special treat for the crowd of devoted fans. Surprisingly they did not play the tour’s title track Get Loud, but hey that’s just another reason to catch them in the future.
An evening with STS9 feels more like a family reunion than just a concert. The crowd of fans was a delightful mix of young and old, united in one place by music. After years of success they are beginning to reach the level of cult following received by greats such as Phish and String Cheese Incident. This September will officially mark twenty years for Sound Tribe and they are marking the occasion with a performance at Red Rocks in Colorado. Pre-sale for the celebration will begin April 19th.
Check out more photos from the show in the gallery below: