Published: April 26, 2013
Story by: Ben Weiss
Photos by: Christian Esten BrainChild Media
There’s nothing quite like a good show to add to holiday revelry. That’s why when it comes to New Years Eve, The Fourth of July, Halloween and *cough cough* the 20th of April, music fans from across the country seek out their favorite artists as there’s nothing that says celebration quite like partying in a crowd of like-minded folks as a spirited groove washes over you.
Lucky for all the electronic heads in New York City, heavyweights Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) came to the big town for a 4.20 celebration at The Roseland Ballroom - a so called ‘small venue for big acts’ - and threw it down with authority (and with a killer horn section), leaving all the attendees to venture back into the city lights feeling mighty high.
Let’s take a closer look.
MBP (Most Beastly Performance): Zach Velmer. Velmer has already proven that he’s a monster behind the drumkit, tirelessly beasting on the skins with equal parts energy and precision. But, what was striking about this performance was the funk package. While his raw power is often the launching pad for STS9’s more interplanetary compositions, the grab-your-nuts funky syncopation on ‘2001,’ juxtaposed by the subdued half-time on ‘King Pharoah’s Tomb’ were simply next level.
Crowd: For all intents and purposes, The Roseland Ballroom is just a big old open room. As a result, unlike other notable NYC venues like The Best Buy Theatre which has GA seats in the back for those in need of a breather, the whole place was just a giant mass of 3,500 bodies positively pulsating from front to back.
For good reason.
The enthusiasm from the audience was matched pound-for-pound by the band - perhaps due in part to a second-hand high from the impressive volume of doja smoke that steadily wafted toward the stage, creating an aura of sorts as the lights illuminated the haze.
Highlight: ‘2001.’ When I heard the slow-creeping synth line that suggested 2001 was about to rip, I could already hear the haters murmuring ‘Why would the band cover a tune that Phish already made their own?’ Well, the answer is who the fuck cares because it was glorious.
Ditching all the wankery and noodling that can accompany the ‘2001’ jam, the build was powerful and precise with the horn section adding just the right amount of texture so that the song was absolutely explosive when it hit its climax. One of those singles that’s worth the $0.99 over at 1320 Records.
Bustout: ‘SpottieOttie.’ A few songs into the first set, the band brought out a three piece horn section for the first time that evening and settled into a smooth, relaxed groove before Murph yelled to the audience ‘C’mon y’all, scream if you know this song!’
The internal dialogue then began. ‘OK, so we’re dealing with a cover song. It wouldn’t be their style to ask people to scream for an original ... hmm, sounds a lot like the backing track to a hip-hop tune ... maybe some south rap? Wait a second, STS9 has southern roots, right? Virginia? No, Atlanta. Atlanta! OutKast! Holy shit, they’re playing OutKast!’
Needless to say, the next three or so minutes was most exciting as the realization that STS9 was performing ‘Spottieottiedopealicious’ spread through the audience. Maybe Andre 3000 and Big Boi will pay it forward at their next show and spit over ‘What is Love.’
Lowpoint: While it would be inappropriate to label any part of the show musically a ‘lowpoint,’ the biggest disappointment was the relatively early conclusion for a night out in New York City (the second encore ended just past midnight). However, the band threw it down for two full sets with a double encore and I suppose on a day defined by copious amounts of doja consumption, turning it in a little earlier than usual should have been all but expected.
Bottom line: STS9 reminds yet again why they’re one of the hottest tickets in live electronic music.
Drum and BassLivetronica