STS9 – Showbox SoDo [Seatlle]
February 22, 2013
SEATTLE – The body warmth inside of the Showbox SoDo alludes to the wood-walled venue’s potential to turn into a sauna. After you’ve felt sweat drip from the ventilation ducts in that building, a well-regulated temperature is a simple pleasure. But a show in Seattle — on the continuous United States’ opposite end from the group’s Athens, Georgia birthplace — STS9 doesn’t attract the grime as adamantly as militant bass music coaxes body fluids out of attendees. Or does it?
Sound Tribe’s West Coast following is decidedly skinnier than its constituency of devotees east of the Rockies. That’s not to say that the crowd was sparse, but that only those fortunate enough to reside In the Know showed up. When it comes to Tribe, flatbills, dreads, and beards count as uniform decorations, each dread more honorable than the last. We reigned as counselors of the Heady Embassy’s West Coast bastion for the night. If it was any more official, we would have worn name tags.
Russ Liquid opened the show with a blend of laptop orchestrated found beats spliced with socket wrench torques. It’s also no surprise that, since he’s appeared on a chunk of Big Gigantic’s labels, his penchant for the brass trumpet’s wail on several tracks fit the opening of the show like a well-oiled ball glove. Then, what we came for.
Sound Tribe took the stage and ripped into “Scheme Reprise,” flavoring the crowd’s smiles with the vibrant pops only served by a live snare drum. Bass drove though the ground, sending waves through our chakra channels and rattling dust from my organs. There’s a part of me who wishes that was an exaggeration.
Saxton Waller’s stage lighting was the perfect complement to STS9’s looping melodies, threading the set with blended beams of haze the color of orange creamsicles. For live performances, video screens suck. They draw your eyes to the screen and away from the music’s life-giving entity, the artist(s). But the motorized LEDs added a sense of depth to the sound while, in turn, the sound endowed each color scheme with its own tone. The harmony between the sound and the lighting scheme sung like a well-tuned choir. I felt like I was at church for a second. Then I realized no one was sober. However, in the words of John the Revelator at the Bonnaroo Phish show, “Church is just a venue.”
The encore radiated positivity, and not in the cheesy way that a self-help book does. I’m a damn sucker for the talking synth in Arigato. And Circus to close out the set was on par with one of those epic landscape paintings from a hundred years ago — like when you feel that destiny is smiling at you because you’ve somehow followed the steps throughout your life that led up to you standing there at the railing, a fat grin on your face as the last note rings through the walls.
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