STS9 Great Cycle Spectacle in Denver

2012 offers us a lot of mystery, wonder, and spirituality. It induces the end of a great cycle, which brings upon the rebirth of the world to a higher level of consciousness, according to the Maya. Great cycle changes can cause a huge amount of turmoil and change. But, it is all for our greater good.

STS9 and Brown Note Productions are aware of this magnificent time, and brought their own representation of the Mayan spirituality to Denver on an unseasonably warm January night.

I attended the second night of a highly anticipated and sold out two night run. Upon entering the perfect venue for this spectacle, the Fillmore Auditorium, which can sometimes resemble a UFO with its blue chandeliers and resonance sound system, I was greeted by an extra-terrestrial voice to preclude the show. As the show began, I have never been welcomed so warmly to a concert. The voice greeted us, welcomed us, and offered peace insinuating that another life form is kind. Then, it gave this gift of sound and love to whomever may uncover the recording or the moment someday. The show was promoted as a celebration of art, music, expression, widespread communication, connectivity, and understanding.

When the alien voice faded, the sounds of orbit transpired, “Activation,” and a giant LED pyramid appeared as we took off. STS9 opened with “Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist” and “Be Nice,” which lit up the stage with the marvels of a Brown Note Production and lighting engineer Saxton Waller’s visual spectacles. After a quick “Twilight Intro” they went into one of my favorite songs of the first set, “Shock Doctrine.” This seemed to kick off the dance party. So many classic STS9 sounds are featured in this eerie dance hit.

The spooky and windy “Last 50,000 Years (Journey Point ~ Mars)” led into an old school throw down classic, “Grow.” The jazzy intro brought me back to the days before laptops were on stage. It was perfectly placed to after the first “Journey Point” of the evening. The sweet jazzy sounds of Hunter Brown’s guitar gave way to a funk fest featuring David Murphy’s bass slapping in “Vibyl.” The crowd clapped along with Murph to happy sounds of “Golden Gate.” “From Now On” kept us all in outer space, and with “Telfon Tel Aviv (Journey Point ~ Neptune)” coming next, we knew we were headed for another change in galaxy.

Within the last 100 years, we have never experienced so much change in so little time. Massive amounts of technology and population growth and environmental degradation have been in a parabolic curve upwards after two million years of a snail’s pace of change. Maybe, just maybe, it has to be this way to show us what we do not want. Regardless, this show was moving into an electronic or robotic section with my other highlight of the first set, “Instantly.” The lights were incredible for this song, and the dance party took it up a notch. “When the Dust Settles” grabbed the tribal beat of Zack Velmer’s hands into a funk classic by Sly & the Family Stone, “Family Affair.” The final song of the set was a beautiful “Piano Piece” that was reminiscent of Phish’s “Squirming Coil” piano exit.

The changes that the Mayans predict will occur are all part of the Universal plan to raise the spiritual consciousness of the earth by 2012 and beyond. If what the Maya say is true, all the massive technological change did not happen because of our “superior” inventiveness in relation to our ancestors. It was divinely inspired to prepare for the earth’s spiritual unfolding around 2012. The second set started with fire, and the next “Journey Point ~ Space” with another message from the alien voice stating, “The spectacle carries a gold coated copper phonograph record with humanity’s greetings to the Milky Way…Our journey continues even further into interstellar space.” And off we went again into “The Unquestionable Supremacy of Nature” sandwich with a “Peaceblaster ‘08” in the middle. This began one of the best sets of STS9 that I have ever heard in years.

“GLOgli” provided the melodic vehicle the space to jam, while the old school sounds of “Squares & Cubes” delighted the OGs. “Kaya,” the spacey sounding tune that resembles Zappa meets the Disco Biscuits came just in time as the final journey was upon us. As the crowd screamed with approval for “Kaya,” the band sneakily ascended into “Trade Craft (Journey Point ~ Humab Ku).” That led into a very energetic “Atlas,” which was loud and raucous. But it was not nearly as welcomed as the sick bass intro to “Equinox.” This felt like the climax of the show to me.

“MOD” brought the vibe from spacey back to a dancing frenzy. Velmer’s electronic drum solo sounded tribal and enlightening. Upon building it, when the beat dropped, the flailing hands and feet of those travelling this adventure at the Fillmore were priceless. This was just the beginning! One of my favorite dance beats and song titles, “Inspire Strikes Back” rocked the end of this show hard. This was the best song of the night, and it was great to get out of breath and shake and sweat off the buzz before descending back down to earth. “Denver Earth Zoom” was the final voice that thanked us and instructed us all to love our life, continue to gather in large groups and celebrate together because of the power in numbers. Then, the band thanked everyone for letting them perform their art for us and sent love with more music.

The encore started with a visual canvas of magic and a voice that simply declared “What is Love?” The song built and built until the colors and sounds melted together to form a truly magical spectacle. The conclusion of the show was a reprise from the night before. “Sceme Reprise” surprised the crowd, and gave us all a grounding feeling and sense of completion and hope. The metallic tone from David Phipps’ keyboard mixed with Murph’s base was a gentle reminder that life will continue and as long as there is positivity in us all, there is nothing to worry about.

The Maya thought of the Great Cycle as one World Age, one growth cycle, at the end of which humanity reaches the next stage in its spiritual development. STS9, Brown Note Productions, the Fillmore Auditorium, and all of the fans that came to the Great Cycle Spectacle weekend grew together and evolved in our own way to take part in the awakening whether the change to come begins in our lifetime or the next. We can only live the moment.

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