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Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeFollowing a string of side projects by its members and the collaborative release of 1320 Mixtape, Sound Tribe Sector 9's recent tour doesn't support a traditional studio album release, but the Rave was packed for a tour stop that found the band focused on churning out their dance-infused mix of jam and electronica.
The first set started out with STS9 drummer Zach Velmer pushing the intensity in "Tooth," a high-powered synth number from the 1320 Mix Tape, and in "STS9," an expansive tune bathed in the keys of David Phipps. As the crowd heated up from the strong beginning, STS9 pulled back the reins for much of the first set, excluding the incredibily infectious dub stylings of "Kaya." As a spacy, 10-minute-plus version of "Moon Socket" winded down to end the first set, a full house waited on edge to see what the second set had in store.
To much applause, STS9 began the second set with "Bigs," which featured expressive low end from bassist David Murphy and set the tone for a powerful ending to the evening. "Be Nice" would follow with guitarist Hunter Brown adding cosmic guitar lines to the far-out dance party sound. As respite from the heavy dance onus, the sleepy, but beautifully arranged, "Dem Be" was a welcome change of pace. Slowly rousing the crowd back to dancing, "GLOgli," from Artifacts, heated up around a loose groove and allowed for some improv, and a run of "Surreality" into "EB" completely released the swirling dance sound on the crowd. Peaking in intensity at the perfect time, STS9 ended the second set with "The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature" providing their most compelling electronica arrangement over a club-clapping romp. Adding to a string of impressive performances in Milwaukee, STS9 left an appreciative crowd with the 10-minute-plus, jungle beat, stellar voyage of "Orbital" to cap off a night of grooves like none other.
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