Entering Sky World: STS9 Red Rocks Tour Kick-Off

Live music is back and a three-night run in Colorado is an outstanding start for five-piece livetronica band Sound Tribe Sector 9’s return to live performance. The Sky World tour – rescheduled from last year – is the second part of their 2019 Push The Sky tour. Traditionally, STS9 plays a multi-night run at Red Rocks Amphitheater over Labor Day weekend. However due to the pandemic, the band had not played for well over a year until now. Having the opportunity to witness Tribe kick off this special tour at one of the best venues in the world and a place I call home was an outstanding live music experience. Tribe delivered a true night to remember.

Red Rocks is operating at full capacity again. So, it wasn’t long before both Friday and Saturday’s STS9 shows were sold out. I attended the first night this past Friday, July 23rd. The show consisted of three sets. One of the three sets was Classic Tribe hits, that included some lesser-known songs, and new content alike intertwined in a magical, funky, and at times a spooky musical journey. Exemplifying the true jamtronica sound, STS9 carried songs into the next, seamlessly blending sound.

Starting The Night Off

The show kicked off with a smoky horizon and a low-hanging early evening sun. A melodic voice rang out. The song “Sky World” by Theresa Bear Fox of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation played, a song of remembrance for those who have passed on. Screams of excitement emerge in a wave from the crowd of nine thousand and some attendees. The illustrious Red Rocks stage was graced with keyboardist and synth master David Phipps, percussionists Jeffree Lerner and Zach Velmer, guitarist Hunter Brown, and badass bass playin’ babe Alana Rocklin.

Tribe played some of their best bangers in the first set, including “Better Day”, “Breathe In”, “Poseidon”, and “Ramone & Eglio”. Also Tribe played “When the Dust Settles”, which transformed into their rendition of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Family Affair”. The second set included “Out of this World”, “Strange Games”, and “Lift You Up”. A blanket of light on the rocks from Friday’s full moon blended with the ambient colorful beams of STS9’s top-notch lighting production. Which painted a perfect backdrop for the final set – my personal favorite of the night. “World Go Round” metamorphosed into “Dusk”, “Monkey Music” into the soul-churning “Golden Gate”, and “Arigato” mutated into “Orbital”.

One of the most notable experiences of seeing an STS9 performance is witnessing the raw love and passion these musicians have for their art. An undeniable look of pure hypnotic bliss possesses Rocklin’s face as she crafts the basslines. David Phipp’s serene expression as his fingers effortlessly glide across the keyboard. The sweaty, beaming focus on Jeffree and Zach’s faces as they hammer and thump the drums. Hunter biting his lip, somehow grimacing and smiling at the same time, when he masterfully takes over the song for a moment with his guitar. And the crowd – the fan base of Tribe – is so special in itself. “This is my 150th tribe show”, said one of the guys standing next to me. His eyes tear up a bit as the song Golden Gate creeps into fruition. 

Tribe encored Friday with the song “We’ll Meet In Our Dreams”. A final pulse of energy exploded from the stage in the ending drum solo. Then came the typical moments of a Red Rocks show after the encore is over – “back to life, back to reality”, we heard. A bittersweet sadness ascended on the crowd as the realization set in that the show was really over for the night. Although, it only felt as though so little time had passed since the journey began. I reluctantly pulled myself off the side planter box, following the herd down the stairs in a pure joyous haze.

Conclusion

Overall, I highly recommend experiencing an STS9 performance at least once to those who haven’t yet. After more than two decades of making music, Tribe is an expert at producing a truly original sound and presenting live music in a way that offers so much substance to fans of electronica and rock music alike. Upcoming performances for STS9 include Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois August 20th – August 2021, and three additional October shows in Lake Perris and Napa, California. 

Photos by Julien Deroeux

Find Artist On:

FACEBOOK

WEBSITE

SOUNDCLOUD

Rain or Shine, STS9 Presents ‘Push The Sky’ at Red Rocks

Beginning their Colorado adventure at the Paramount Theater on Thursday night, then to Red Rocks for two nights Friday and Saturday, STS9 made sure to make this experience one of a kind. Presenting “Push the Sky,” they brought a whole new immersive production to Red Rocks Amphitheater. After their “Cave of Crystals” theme from last year, the band unveiled new production that they called “Push the Sky“. This included not only a brand new stage but also three sets each night. You did read that right, three sets each night from STS9. From stunning visuals, to incredible music,this show had a little bit of something for everybody despite the rain.

From songs such as “ABCees,” to “Rent,” to a “Push it” cover originally done by Salt-N-Pepa, the jams never stopped. Even during the intense rain. Ending their final set on Saturday night with an encore of “Presence of Light,STS9 made sure to keep the audience involved the entire time. From drummer Zach Velmer non stop giving his all on the drums, to Alana Rocklin giving us that steady kick of the bass, they took the crowd to multiple different places with their music.


STS9 playing in the rain
Photo by: Adi Sadeh

A Little STS9 History

Zach Velmer, shown above has been the drummer for STS9 for a large number of years. In an interview with Westword, Velmer talks about where he’s from and how he got to where he is today. “I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia. Also where my parents are from,” Velmer tells Westword.

They then go into asking Velmer how he got into music, he responds “I was pretty active when I was younger, and when I was in elementary school, I took this one test, and I scored really high on eye-hand coordination. Going into middle school, they asked if I wanted to play drums, because of this test, this standardized test that I took. And I really didn’t want to play in the school band, but I wanted to play on a drum set. So I convinced and swindled and got my pop to get me a drum kit and from that moment, in the fifth grade, I just started playing. It was just something I picked up and started doing, and I’m still doing it today”. Full interview with Zach Velmer can be found here.


The Crowd Rages on in the Rain for Day One

STS9 wasn’t the only act performing at Red Rocks for their two night run. Night one acts included Marvel Years, STS9 set one, OTT and then STS9 Sets two and three. Marvel Years started out the night strong, playing a 30 minute set to begin the music. Next came STS9’s first set, starting slower and quieter with their stage only being at half stand(As the nights would continue on, the lights above them would raise up and down while also angling down toward the group to the audience.

After was OTT, who performed his DJ set in the round. This meant his CDJ’s were set up on a table in VIP while he played. All the lights in the amphitheater were turned off besides the side lights on the rocks, and the lights surrounding OTT in the the round. About 45 minutes later STS9 joined the stage to start their sets of the night through the rain. They played old tunes and new tunes to present “Push the Sky,” their brand new crowd immersing production. No better place to present that production than an outdoor venue. On night one the rain did start to pickup, but that didn’t stop any of the crowd or band as they continued to Push the Sky.

Night Two Closing out the Weekend

Night two had a pretty similar setup, with Thriftworks beginning at 7 starting the music off into STS9’s first set of that night. Thriftworks, a California based producer is a fan-favorite in Colorado. Party Guru Press was lucky enough to cover his show in Boulder, Colorado. Eprom was then set to play, having his DJ set in the round as well, ending his set in a unique way by bringing his son out to help him finish off the set. As the crowd went wild, Eprom’s son continued to twist knobs for a great ending to his set. Finally, STS9 joined the stage one last time to play their final two sets. This set brought the total to 9 sets, including their WaveSpell set at the Paramount theater in Denver.


STS 9 Fans in the Rain

Photos by: Adi Sadeh

From 9 different sets, to a brand new production, STS9 brought their all. Starting at the Paramount Theater in Denver to two nights at Red Rocks Amphitheater, this was a three night experience nobody will forget. With a total of 9 sets played after the entire weekend, they were sure to play something for everybody. Despite the rain and the weather, each night was unforgettable. If you are looking to catch STS9, they are headed to New York for two separate shows first. Then, they are onto Massachusetts to preform one night at The House of Blues. Make sure to check them out on one of their stops, they are sure to have something to make you move your body!


Picture by: Adi Sadeh

Photos by Adi Sadeh

STS9 SoundCloud

Check out more STS9 and live dates here

STS9 Brings Back Wave Spell Festival For Round Two

Sound Tribe Sector Nine, commonly known as STS9, is back after a killer year of their inaugural California festival, Wave Spell. The group is known for their heavy, instrumental, rock-meets-electronic-improv-infusion, and 2019 will see them further embracing this sound, with their wide array of musical guests. Taking place on August 15-18th, not only will they play NINE, yes, NINE sets, including three special wave spell sets, but they are bringing names by the likes of The New Deal, Mark Farina, Christian Martin, Thriftworks, Random Rab, SoDown, Richard Devine, Russ Liquid, Bluetech, Marbs, Rybo, Lubelski, SaQi, Yak Attack, M3GA-SCOPES, and Maddy O’Neal. Not only this –  but music is promised until 5 AM.

However, perhaps the real star here is the venue. Belden Town Resort sits along the north fork of the Feather River, in the heart of the Plumas National Forest. Belden Town also offers fascinating history that surrounds the area, which used to be home to Maidu Indians, a nearby railroad, and old school gold mining. The entire resort has a river running through, with beach like lead inlets all around. Not only will you be able to enjoy set after set of awesome music, but you can experience nature, take in the beautiful historic grounds and take a dip at the same time.

Aside from the music, the festival will feature a wide array of activities such as art installations, live painting, yoga, crystal healing, and beach swims. Taking place in Belden Town California, this is set to be a one-of-a-kind, anything goes experience. No STS9 setlists, no forced agendas, but all encompassing, fluid adventures throughout a 4 day festival experience. Tickets are still on sale now, but with us now meeting the month mark – don’t delay.

Wave Spell Live Festival 2019 – Event Information:
Date: August 15-18, 2019
Location: Belden Town Resort, 14785 Belden Town Rd, Belden, CA
Facebook Event Page: RSVP HERE
Tickets: Purchase HERE

Wave Spell Live Festival 2019 – Lineup By Artist:
Blossomn
Bluetech
Chris Karns
Christian Martin
David Phipps
Dollarsine
Eminence Ensemble
Lubelski
Maddy O’Neal
Mark Farina (Mushroom Jazz)
Marbs
M3gascopes
Phers
Pruitt
Random Rab
Richard Devine
Russ Liquid
Rybo
Saqi
Secret Recipe
Shadow Spirit
Shwung
Since Juleye Live Band (ft. Todd Stoops & Brisco Jones)
Sodown
STS9
Sub ID
The New Deal
Thriftworks
Yak Attack
Zach Velmer

STS9 Brings Back Wave Spell Festival For Round Two

Sound Tribe Sector Nine, commonly known as STS9, is back after a killer year of their inaugural California festival, Wave Spell. The group is known for their heavy, instrumental, rock-meets-electronic-improv-infusion, and 2019 will see them further embracing this sound, with their wide array of musical guests. Taking place on August 15-18th, not only will they play NINE, yes, NINE sets, including three special wave spell sets, but they are bringing names by the likes of The New Deal, Mark Farina, Christian Martin, Thriftworks, Random Rab, SoDown, Richard Devine, Russ Liquid, Bluetech, Marbs, Rybo, Lubelski, SaQi, Yak Attack, M3GA-SCOPES, and Maddy O’Neal. Not only this –  but music is promised until 5 AM.

However, perhaps the real star here is the venue. Belden Town Resort sits along the north fork of the Feather River, in the heart of the Plumas National Forest. Belden Town also offers fascinating history that surrounds the area, which used to be home to Maidu Indians, a nearby railroad, and old school gold mining. The entire resort has a river running through, with beach like lead inlets all around. Not only will you be able to enjoy set after set of awesome music, but you can experience nature, take in the beautiful historic grounds and take a dip at the same time.

Aside from the music, the festival will feature a wide array of activities such as art installations, live painting, yoga, crystal healing, and beach swims. Taking place in Belden Town California, this is set to be a one-of-a-kind, anything goes experience. No STS9 setlists, no forced agendas, but all encompassing, fluid adventures throughout a 4 day festival experience. Tickets are still on sale now, but with us now meeting the month mark – don’t delay.

Wave Spell Live Festival 2019 – Event Information:
Date: August 15-18, 2019
Location: Belden Town Resort, 14785 Belden Town Rd, Belden, CA
Facebook Event Page: RSVP HERE
Tickets: Purchase HERE

Wave Spell Live Festival 2019 – Lineup By Artist:
Blossomn
Bluetech
Chris Karns
Christian Martin
David Phipps
Dollarsine
Eminence Ensemble
Lubelski
Maddy O’Neal
Mark Farina (Mushroom Jazz)
Marbs
M3gascopes
Phers
Pruitt
Random Rab
Richard Devine
Russ Liquid
Rybo
Saqi
Secret Recipe
Shadow Spirit
Shwung
Since Juleye Live Band (ft. Todd Stoops & Brisco Jones)
Sodown
STS9
Sub ID
The New Deal
Thriftworks
Yak Attack
Zach Velmer