Monday, April 26, 2021
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Sound Tribe lets the music do the talking


David Murphy on bass guitar.
David Murphy on bass guitar.

The crowd arrived early to get tickets, and everyone was surprised the show was not sold out. The parking lot filled quickly with fans eager to be the first inside.

Headlining one of the best shows of the summer at the Crossroads, Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) has built a huge following over the past 12 years without creating many strong vocal tracks, choosing instead to maintain an instrumental atmosphere.

STS9 believes vocals can distract the listener from the potential of the instruments and jam.

As usual at their shows, the vibe was perfect and the crowd was diverse. Sound Tribe brings in the best from the rock, jam, rave, club and hip-hop scenes.

They fit in a small area on the stage with STS9’s gear already set up behind them.

The singer, Aaron Behrens, had a voice that was high-pitched and rough. He drags you in with voice alone using intriguing noises and a reverb effect.

Behrens wore dark clothes on stage, and wore pitch black sunglasses throughout the whole performance, adding to the ambiance.

Brief interludes transitioned to vocal patches, and occasionally the microphone was traded for an electric guitar.

Leading the music from the side with live drums and synthesizer lines was Thomas Turner. He hacked out the beat wearing a full cape while switching between instruments, mixers and samplers.

The music as a whole was well-composed and unique. The songs fit together well and had creative lyrics that inspired laughter while dancing.

Everyone was bummed when their set was over, yet content knowing that STS9 would follow.

LED light board creates silhouette.
LED light board creates silhouette.

Everyone was chilling out after the set when without announcement, music started playing. The black clothing made Sound Tribe barely visible without stage lighting.

Their ninja appearance was greeted by massive cheers as everyone piled back up front.

By now the Crossroads lawn was full, and word on the street was capacity had been reached. Everyone was moving, whether they were crammed up front or stayed on the edge by the fences where there was still a little space to shake it.

The first track was really slow to progress, with creepy tones and strange noises. They picked up the energy leading into the second track and kept on through the night.

Zach Velmer always puts on an amazing performance as drummer and is known to play so fast it sounds like a drum machine. Maybe their new songs are slower in tempo, or maybe they played a lot of the more relaxed songs. Regardless, it seemed like he was not out to impress anyone at the show or break new ground.

Even so, seeing STS9 is always a beautiful experience no matter how much rage they put into the shows.

Sound Tribe’s set list included a lot of new material, but always faded back to a classic to get the crowd all riled up again. Various lights flashed in the crowd as people danced with hula hoops and other objects.

They departed from the stage, thanked us for coming out and the crowd went nuts demanding an encore. STS9 was appreciative of the love and came back out to play a couple more classics before closing the night out.

Based on energy and performance, Ghostland Observatory put on a better show than the headliners. STS9 has never been a band to attract attention to themselves in that manner anyway, preferring instead to let the instruments do the talking and let the crowd do the rest.

The summer festival season is wrapping up, and now is the time to plan for next year’s festivals. Only at these massive shows and a few other special places will you find an all-night set for enlightenment of body, mind and soul.

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