Story and Photos by Matt SchwenkeWith only a few studio albums proper released, Sound Tribe Sector 9 has earned its loyal fanbase over the years with live performances that never seem to be one in the same and are ultra dance-friendly. STS9's fall tour supports a recently released DVD of the best of their live bits, and the band's stop in Milwaukee had all the elements that have spurred on the so-called new jam band movement that mixes certain techno aspects with a full band adding organic, traditional jam band-like embellishments.
Opening the show with the mysterious synth sounds of "One A Day," STS9 commanded a tight groove to get the crowd moving and then turned up the intensity with the driving rhythms of "F. Word." In a rare live performance of "986 Foot Tall Trees," STS9 set the cruise control and took the crowd through a wandering number with subtle tones producing a large soundscape. Pulling from the studio release Artifact, the vocals programmed into "Music, Us," as well as its soothing vibes, were ultimately uplifting. The grand synth creation found in "You Don't Say" from the band's own label release 1320 Mixtape was another notable and closed the first set.
STS9 began the second set by revisiting their 2000 studio release Offered Schematics Suggesting Peace with the club thump of "Kamuy" and followed with the irresistible sway of the live gem "Lo Swaga." Well-placed keys added to the slow, rock build-up of "Be Pulse" and the synth journey of "GLOgli" followed with many a dancing body and much applause. "Orbital" featured a jungle-like beat that led into a 10-minute jam only to be followed by the eerily danceable "Rent." Pulling back from the prominent beat, STS9 closed the second set with the drifting through the ether of "Blu Mood."
Returning for an encore performance of "Luma Daylight," STS9 left the crowd with another ethereal number that pulsed amidst a wash of cymbals and completed the night's journey through ambient halls braced by big beats and danceable grooves.
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