STS9: A musically-induced high | SierraSun.com

STS9: A musically-induced high

Alex Close

photo by Alex Close/action David Murphy rocks the bass while Zack Velmer beats the drums in the background.

Since the rock and roll revolution of the 1960s, rock and drugs have gone hand in hand. Of course, sex is usually thrown in there too.Rock and roll has always been about non-conformity – about freeing your mind and your spirit and allowing sound to take over, if only temporarily.Often times, certain drugs are more common among crowds at certain concerts.

Having never seen a Sound Tribe Sector 9 show before, I should have known what to expect from the sound side of things as soon as I walked into the Crystal Bay Club’s Crown Room for the show that had sold out days earlier.While talking with the Crown Room’s chief promoter Brent Harding, a kid walked up to us.”You guys know where I can score some rolls?” he asked.”No man, sorry.”

“You’ll get a lot of that tonight,” Harding said.It was true, there may never have been a drug/music partnership that seemed to fit more perfectly than Sound Tribe and ecstasy.Santa Cruz based STS9 is made of five extremely talented musicians who, aside from rocking their respective instruments, each man a laptop to help synthesize and add to their electronic dance/jam-band sound.Leading the charge of the dance-heavy vibe is tireless drummer Zack Velmer who is all but invisible behind his massive set of drums.

Lending a couple of hands with percussion is Jeffree Lerner. Bringing things down a bit and giving the band a good deep sound is bassist David Murphy. On guitar is Hunter Brown and manning the keyboards is David Phipps.STS9’s harmonious mix of jam-band riffs electronically infused with dance beats is never ending. It is one of those shows that simply does not let you stop dancing.The combination of Phipps’ keyboard and Brown’s guitar, both synthesized and stretched, along with Velmer’s perpetual pounding, makes the body move with a bounce and sexual grace that go together like bump and grind only smoother.With the state of the art lights at Crystal Bay flashing all different colors and intensities, the Crown Room was transformed into a laid back kind of rave.

Beautiful hippy girls danced, shoeless, writhing and swaying on table tops and the backs of booths transfixed, as if the music had taken them over and they no longer had control. The smiles on their faces said they liked it that way.While STS9 didn’t go on until 10 p.m., they played until around 1 a.m., and it’s easy to lose track of time under the soft blue, green, yellow or red glow of lights flashing along with the smooth moving groove, one track blending into the next, bodies packed into the room, sweating and exhausted but unable to stop moving. With the temperatures outside nearing single digits, and the fresh snow thick on the ground, the roof above the Crown Room was certainly bare by the end of the show, and most likely it’s still steaming.