After playing without a live show for over a year, STS9 returned to the stage last weekend to deliver seven spectacular sets to their Colorado fans. As part of their annual Colorado run, the five-person jam electronics group was finally able to whiz into space with a two-day “Sky World” run in the Red Rocks Amphitheater and end the weekend with a lunchtime “Day Out” of Time ”show with theirs special Ax The Cables and wavespell sets at the Levitt Pavilion in Denver.
With Red Rocks now at full capacity, the venue was busy hours before the doors opened. By the time it struck 5 p.m., almost all of the parking lots were full and 9,600 Tribe fans sparkled throughout the venue, many having their first shows back at the legendary venue.
Friday's showdown began with a one-hour set from indie electronics producer Chrome Sparks. A smoky sky hid most of the setting sun as Tribe took the stage at 7:30 a.m. to begin the first of three sets that evening. An opening with “Sky World” and “Musical Story, Yes” from their 2005 album Artifacts gave the crowd a good taste of what was to come as the band began painting a beautiful musical journey.
The touching lyrics of “Better Day” led the band to a drum takeoff on “Breathe In”. Ramone & Emiglio. ”The energy in the venue was tangible during a mashup of“ When The Dust Settles ”and Sly & The Family Stones cover of“ Family Affair ”to make a closer set.
Alpine music photo
After the warm-up, the second set turned out to be the best of the evening. The kickoff sample "Guys, are you ready?" In "Really what?" A groovy dance party broke down on the rocks, complete with Alana Rocklin's soft bass melody and Brown's punchy guitar riffs. Before we knew it, Outkast's “ATLiens” echoed off the venue's massive monoliths for a funky halftime remix called “Strange Games” before a blissful “Circus” highlighted the night.
Set three was nothing short of tight jams as the guitar melody on "Grow" blossomed into a new song debut "Arrowhead". A funky backbeat from Rocklin and Lerner – paired with sparkling keys from Phipps – made this new track a surefire setlist topper for upcoming shows.
A party scene erupted with the start of “World Go Round” before the rocks went dark as screeching keys and deep bass grooves filled the air. Spacey vocals and menacing guitar riffs made the crowd shudder for another new song debut, "Dusk". The alien space rager "Arigato" helped finish the final set, complete with the edgy guitar melody and sonic soundscapes in "Orbital".
A sold out, cheering audience brought the band backstage for a sentimental encore of “We’ll Meet In Our Dreams”, decorated with shimmering synths and a pulsating bass line to end the Friday party.
Alpine music photo
The second night was greeted with a sparkling Saturday night scene that slipped away from the momentum of the previous night. Tycho returned to the Red Rocks Amphitheater for the first time since 2018, opening with a special solo DJ set. Although they played solo instead of the usual live band, staples like "Awake" lit up the rocky venue for a playful 90 minutes.
On stage 10 minutes earlier than expected, STS9 wasted no time getting the night into full swing with the melodic jam in “Baraka”. The guitar noodle at the beginning led the group to land on “Equinox” for a cheeky rhythm beat before “Vapors” took over for an electro rock jam led by sparkling synths. It was only when “New Dawn New Day” broke out and followed up with “Gobnugget” that we saw the band at their best, broke into various lead-melody takeovers and played out a fun collaboration. The debut bust of "Big Bassin" saw a jazzy breakdown of the group before "Frequencies 2" and "Frequencies 3" finished the first set.
A rising full moon brought the powerful bass grooves in “Moonsocket” to the start of the second set and set the shimmering Saturday scene on the rocks. Versions of “Enceladus, By The Morning Sun” and “Like I Do” found their time on the setlist before the dub sequence on “ABCees” turned into a tribal rage party when Phipps took on a glowing key melody. “Scheme” made Tribe fans wander from left to right and sequence the end of the second movement with a celebratory “Rent” and “Hubble”.
Wild cheers broke out from the venue and welcomed STS9 back on stage to end the full moon party on Saturday with a proper encore. The encore was indeed received when the cheeky beat on "To The World" led the group to a full three-song jam encore of "Havona Ascent" and "Beyond Right Now".
Alpine music photo
On a sunny Sunday there was a cool-down celebration of the Red Rocks in the Levitt Pavilion in Denver for a “Day Out Of Time” music experience at noon. At 4 o'clock STS9 started and decoupled their electrical sounds for an "Ax The Cables" set. Here we saw the stripped down, raw talents of the band via fan favorites “ReEmergence”, “Seed” and “Dance”.
A special comeback weekend requires special measures, and the band's elusive "A Gift For Gaia" made its second appearance since its first appearance in 2001 and drew die-hard fans.
The setting sun on Sunday welcomed the eagerly awaited second set of “Wavespell” from all improvisations, which marked the band's seventh set of the weekend. A festive encore of "Surreality" and "EB" crowned the three-day STS9 spectacle, and the band was given a group cheer from "Just Thanks".
View a photo gallery of STS9's return to the Red Rocks Amphitheater below, courtesy of Alpine Music Photo for worldmusic.blog.
STS9 @ RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE, 07/23 – 07/24/2021
Colin McKinley / Alpine Music Photo / worldmusic.blog