I always look forward to filling my Red Rocks dose, but STS9’s annual run on September 11th and 12th was a brand new venture for me. I had seen their set earlier in the season at Summer Camp Music Festival and was eager to see what they brought to, in my opinion, the greatest venue in the world. I could not have prepared myself for such incredible talent and sheer beauty. Armed with an electric guitar, a bass, a drum kit, hand drums, synthesizer, keyboard and production set up, STS9 rocked everyone’s world for an epic two night run. Sound Tribe Sector 9 could be claimed as the lovechild between Pink Floyd and Umphrey’s McGee with their perfect symbiosis of psychedelic rock. Their music proved as an artistic roller coaster of jam rock, complete with a light show that had everyone’s jaws drooling all over Red Rocks’ ground. Proving that their music speaks for itself, they opened for themselves both nights and played double sets – all without ever touching a microphone.
I found that the best seat in the house was on the very top row, overlooking the twinkling lights of the entire Denver metro area as they competed with the cloudless Colorado night sky. However, I could barely keep my eyes off of the intricate light show that never ceased. Every color imaginable appeared at some point, and my eyes just about bulged out of my skull when they turned the lights to the various disco balls placed strategically on the floor of the stage. The light show was to be expected from STS9, but the combination of the Red Rocks, a groovin’ crowd panned out below and the city sprawling across the landscape of the background, this was unlike any I had ever seen before. The music kept up accordingly, as they played a mostly uptempo set and threw in some trippy jams into the mix. I remember thinking to myself how incredible it was that the drummer was able to lift his drumsticks so high in the air before crashing down on the drum kit at the perfect moment. The band’s energy was in sync, seducing the sold-out crowd to vibe with them. It was quite entertaining to hear Tribe lull the crowd into a groovy, trance-like state and then surprise them with an applause-worthy jam sesh. Their set lists consisted of many favorites, such as their self-titled song “STS9”, “When the Dust Settles”, and “Scheme”, just to name a select few. The second night, the crowd just could not get enough, so STS9 delivered not one but two amazing encores. Although each musician on stage has impeccable talent, with a last name like “Rocklin”, it seems to be in Alanna’s blood to slay the bass. I was very impressed with the musicianship of the five-piece band and now I don’t have any questions about why their fans are so incredibly devout.
I left the venue wanting more – not in the sense that it wasn’t fulfilling, but more so like the same way I feel after I’ve finished my ice cream bowl – yes it was satisfying, but my sweet tooth still craves the sugar high. Sound Tribe Sector 9’s ability to create an environment that is so encompassing, so intricate and so connected is unparalleled. With their sixteenth year on the Rocks under their belts, we can only wonder what 2016 will look like.
Written By: Jaelyn Kohl
*NOTE: Bass Feeds the Soul did not take these photos; All photos used in this article are property of Sound Tribe Sector 9*