Tour Tales

A Feast Of A/V Bliss: STS9’s (Almost) Tour Closer In Fort Lauderdale

A Feast Of A/V Bliss: STS9’s (Almost) Tour Closer In Fort Lauderdale

On the night of April 26, the queue formed all the way around the block at downtown Fort Lauderdale’s notorious live music venue, Revolution Live. And, everyone was abuzz about Sound Tribe Sector 9 bringing the heat on its current tour. Word was that the band was playing tight, and the lighting production was second to none. All the diehard fans were eager to catch a close-up glimpse of Tribe, as they mostly play large-scale festivals nowadays. With Summer Camp, Wakarusa, and Camp Bisco all coming up in 2013, this winter tour of smaller venues was enticing, to say the least. In addition to the younger, and noticeably heady crowd up front, there seemed to be many first-timers who were amped on popping their jamtronica cherries. As soon as the doors opened, the audiophiles began to flood the submerged pit of Revolution Live. According to most, this is where the best sound in the venue can be found, and it was time to claim space for what was expected to be a packed house.

On the night of April 26, the queue formed all the way around the block at downtown Fort Lauderdale’s notorious live music venue, Revolution Live. And, everyone was abuzz about Sound Tribe Sector 9 bringing the heat on its current tour. Word was that the band was playing tight, and the lighting production was second to none. All the diehard fans were eager to catch a close-up glimpse of Tribe, as they mostly play large-scale festivals nowadays. With Summer Camp, Wakarusa, and Camp Bisco all coming up in 2013, this winter tour of smaller venues was enticing, to say the least. In addition to the younger, and noticeably heady crowd up front, there seemed to be many first-timers who were amped on popping their jamtronica cherries. As soon as the doors opened, the audiophiles began to flood the submerged pit of Revolution Live. According to most, this is where the best sound in the venue can be found, and it was time to claim space for what was expected to be a packed house.

No one seemed sure if there would be an opening act or not. Around 9:30 p.m., a DJ took his place behind one wheel of steel and a laptop. DJ Morale from San Francisco’s blend of skillfully beat-matched tracks jumped from electro house to trap, to progressive break beats. His set had a heavy focus on remixes of popular tunes, but required minimal mixing skills or technical turntabalism. The already-packed pit shook its shoulders to the sound of LCD Soundsystem’s “Dance Yrself Clean” and remixes of Radiohead and Blind Melon.  It was not necessarily the underground sound that the Tribe fans were expecting for an opening act, but the vibes were positive as everyone prepared for blast off.  Soon enough, the lights dimmed to a cool blue and the DJ equipment was disassembled. 

The STS9 crew carries an enormous payload of production equipment and lighting with them on tour, which was indicated by the brightly colored, stacked and logoed gearboxes on the sidewalk out front of the venue. STS9’s lighting designer, Saxton Waller, commented that the band could not fit the signature pyramid-shaped LED screen recently used on the “Great Cycle Spectacles” tour in Revolution Live. Instead, Waller set up a three-tiered lighting rig on Revolution’s compact stage. This would allow him to get creative with his signature atmospheric effects in a small venue setting, without relying much on the projection screens.  

David ‘Murph’ Murphy, bass player and voice of the band, took the stage clapping his hands and pumping his fist to the crowd. Murph, who is always appreciative of an enthusiastic crowd, exclaimed “It’s time to have a good time y’all, c’mon!” and the lights began to glow bright green beams over the crowd. The five-piece band from Georgia came out smooth with the song “Really What” which progressed from jazz-infused melodies and funky basslines to an electro rock barnburner. The band’s set list was full of newer material, which featured genre bending, lengthy, psychedelic and transcendental jams. 

Zack Velmer on drums was nonstop, like a robot on his elevated drumkit behind Murph. His 180-BPM drum and bass breakdowns, some legend in the jam community, were as precise as they came. The light beams panned over the crowd, creating multi-color fractals and geometric patterns, thanks to Waller’s signature artistry.

While experiencing this type of show, one may find him/herself inclined to do a hippie-style windmill dance or even rigorously jump to the beat. The second of the two was the only option given the standing room available. Every key vantage point in the venue was spoken for, so the designated dancing areas became the upstairs rear corners near the only restrooms, and downstairs in front the band’s merchandise table. These were not bad options, considering the Plexiglas windows overlooking the stage gave a unique view over the crowd and band.  It was a view seldom seen in a music festival setting, although the sound was not great up there.  The clear floor place in front of the merch table was inviting, despite not having a great view of the stage. P.S. – STS9’s new logo wear and swag looked dope. The digitized snake design introduced on this winter tour looked sick.

The band crushed two action-packed sets and appropriately ended things on a track off their latest studio album, When the Dust Settles. The 103-BPM groovy lounge beat morphed in to a crunchy bass-laden jam with a grimy breakdown. 

Following a killer encore, the sweaty bunch of enthusiastic fans poured in to the streets, soaked up the fresh air and stretched their limbs in satisfaction. It was nice to see STS9 in such an intimate setting for a change, but there were many conversations about where else they could play in South Florida that could provide the same experience, but with more wiggle room. It’s tough to focus on the moment and get in the zone when it’s elbow-to-elbow at a show. Many fans saw the band the night before in Orlando, and were heading to St. Pete to catch the final show of the winter tour. The Floridians raged the run like true pros and we know the Tribe will be back soon in response to the extraordinarily good vibes.   

Photos by Tracy Block / Melodysiac © 2013

{fcomments}

victor

May 2nd, 2013

No comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *