Shining Rock: STS9 Goes Back to the Forest!

There are a few bands that when they happen to be touring close to the area, we will always make the pilgrimage to see live. One of those bands is STS9. Some of you might ask, “Who is STS9?” Which is a fair question. Sound Tribe Sector 9, Sound Tribe, or just plain Tribe (as they are more commonly referred to in the community) is an instrumental band that started in Atlanta, back in 1998, with a brilliant blend of electronic music, hip-hop, jazz, psychedelia, funk, and drum ‘n’ bass. Over the years, this band has gained quite a following of devoted fans that, like myself, will travel many miles to watch their beloved Tribe perform. And by “perform” what I really mean is throw down! The band has only had one (1) lineup change, thus leaving a core four members together known for incredible chemistry: Hunter Brown (guitar/midi keyboard), Jeffree Lerner (percussion/handsonic), David Phipps (keyboards/synthesizers), and Zach Velmer (drums). David Murphy (bass/midi controller) was replaced by Alana Rocklin (bass) who has picked up the torch and held it high since joining the band with her own funky style.

Last year, STS9 played a weekend at Pisgah Brewing Company in Black Mountain, N.C. (right outside Asheville) and it just so happened to fall on the same weekend as (the now defunct) Sloss Music & Arts Festival in Birmingham, AL. I was not able to make it since I was working at Sloss but my festival squad did make it this heater of a weekend, led by the one and only STS9. So let’s fast forward to 2019 and guess who came back to play in the forest? Yep! Three nights July 19th-21st (Friday- An Evening with STS9, Saturday- Tommie Sunshine & STS9, and Sunday- DJ Mark Farina & STS9) and I was able to make the first two nights. I know. I know. Never miss a Sunday show. I feel you, but tell that to my job come Monday. Adulting always gets in the way of fun! But enough of all that let us get into what you really and truly came here for… STS9!

Friday‘s set list 07/19/2019 (Photo courtesy of Michael Mathews)

Friday’s night featured the always enjoyable An Evening with STS9, which would include two wicked (2) sets and one (1) unbelievable encore that set the tone for this unforgettable weekend! Starting off the night with a crowd fave “Wave Spell” really helped set the tone for the first set of the night. We were treated to some cherry songs in that first set, such as “Four Year Puma”, “Water Song”, and ending the first set really big with “March”! After a brief set break, Tribe came back out even stronger than before by beginning the second set with “World Go Round”, among some other really noteworthy tracks from their discography. They ended the second set with a fantastic rendition of “Shock Doctrine” and then treated us to a two song encore of “By The Morning Sun” and “From Now On”. 

Saturday’s festivities kicked off with Tommie Sunshine who is a jack of all trades in the music industry. This DJ / Songwriter / remixer / record producer has been active in the music industry since 1993 and has been associated with many names, most notably James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem). Born Thomas Lorello in Chicago, Illinois, he quickly became infatuated with music at an early age and continued his passion until it earned him the Main Stage at Ultra Music Festival as well as many other stages across the festival landscape. His blend of funky house got the crowd moving and warmed up for Tribe! Want to hear some of Tommie Sunshine? Then check out his Official Soundcloud page today. 

Saturday’s set list 07/20/2019 (Photo courtesy of Michael Mathews)

STS9 started off Night 2 by dedicating their entire first set as a tribute to Apollo 11 (see photo of Saturday’s set list). If you were there then you know exactly how much this set resonated throughout the park to each one of the attendees. Not going to lie, I really felt that this was one of the best sets I had seen to date from Tribe. Hands down. After taking a brief break to get their bearings, Tribe came back for the second set with “Seed” as the opening track. After getting a little help from Justin Perkins (from Toubab Krewe) for “Kamuy”, Tribe played a ton of crowd favorites including “Dance”, “Wika Chikana”, “Move My Peeps”, and ending the set with “Hubble”. They ended the second day at Pisgah Brewing Company right where they began, with a nod the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. Of course Tribe would come back for an insane encore mashup of “Strange Games” >>> “Somesing” >>> “Strange Games”.

I, for one, cannot wait for next year’s event when Tribe comes back to the forest in Black Mountain to play Pisgah Brewing Company. Until then, you can catch STS9 at a few other dates in the continental United States. Follow this link STS9’s tour page to see if they are coming near your city anytime soon! I will definitely see you all at Hulaween for both of their sets! Want to read more about STS9? Check out my coverage of Just Thanks: STS9 featuring sub-ID (Night 1) from November 2018 live from Coca-Cola Roxy (Atlanta).  

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Remember don’t think about it, just buy the damn ticket! As always, hope to see you at a show or festival soon!