Sound Tribe Sector Nine has been a uniquely special force in the music world for many years now. Their evolution as musicians has been as otherworldly as the content of their music. Like any true long-lasting band, evolution is necessary for longevity. Innovation has been at its forefront for two decades. Their energy and creativity is what brings loyal fans back to see them time and time again. As we made another revolution around the sun, we are presented with a new year to celebrate change and growth. “Light Years” is the third track off of their newest album entitled The Universe Inside as well as the name of this New Year’s Eve run. In the band’s own words describing this event, “Light Years is featured as an interlude on our new album. To us it's both literal - the distance-time travels in a year - and the thread of memories that together form the perception of a particular time period. It highlights NYE as a time to reflect on the past and manifests the future.”
After a spirited two nights, and an opening set by SoDown, STS9 came out to an intro that sounded like a man running through a video game, but ascended into a beat dropping dance party called “Sun, Moon, & Stars” off of that new album. The Fillmore Auditorium in Denver was already in stride and fancying their latest dance moves. This went into “Breathe In,” which was followed by “Walk to the Light,” which slowly and methodically maintained the themed journey. The energy produced by drummer Zach Velmer is always one of my favorite parts of an STS9 show. But this time, from the photo pit, I was able to zero in on all of the fills and gentle additions of keyboardist David Phipps. After Alana Rocklin, whom I always love listening to slapped “Tap-In” and “Love Don’t Terrorize,” they played a classic pair of STS9 songs, “Glogli > Instantly.” The first set ended with “…And Some Are Angels” and “Crystal Instrument,” which either had a Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day” tease in it or else sounds very much like the chorus of the song.
The second set started with countdown to the New Year starting at eight and then going into “Vapors > Only Light Remains > Vapors > Oil and Water > F Word.” The party got turned up when the band went into the wah bass slappy disco “Get Loud.” “Water > Oil & Water” slowed things down a bit until the captivating conclusion of the set with “Orbital” and “World Go Round,” which was a brilliant display of lighting engineer Saxton Waller’s continued luminescent genius.
“Firewall” and “Baraka” as the encore were a fine way to lure in the new year, but STS9 says it best on their website, "We are one, made from dust of the stars / down here we bear the weight of the pain and the scars / just want to live with nothing to hide / every one of us a universe inside." And therefore, 2017 rings in the promise of a great year and well wishes to all of our readers, musicians, and beings of the universe. Let’s collectively bring the change that we want to see in the world through music, STS9, journalists, and all of us. Happy New Year!