STS9 at the Fillmore Auditorium, 12/30/12 (review)By Nate Etter | December 31st, 2012 | No Comments »
Fresh off of Mayan Holidaze, an exclusive Mexican getaway with fellow jammers Umphreyâ€™s McGee and The Disco Biscuits, STS9 returned to Colorado on Sunday for the second of three New Yearâ€™s performances at the Fillmore Auditorium, dubbed â€śTime Within Evolving Living Vehicle Earth.â€ť The spacey quintet â€“ Â always one to push the balance between live improvisation and mind-bending programmed production â€“ left a free-spirited crowd more than ready for a New Yearâ€™s Eve performance to cap off a vigorous end of 2012.
After an opening set by Chicago-based trio Future Rock, STS9 confidently took to the stage behind a flood of bass. First set highlights included an exploratory â€śBlue Moodâ€ť and an uplifting â€śCircus,â€ť but, to the disappointment of many veteran fans, focused more on heavy-hitting newer material.
The second set opened with a driving â€śMetamemeâ€ť and soon fell into a surprising cover of Daft Punkâ€™s â€śRobot Rock.â€ť Jeffrey Lernerâ€™s percussion accented a tight â€śInspires Strikes Backâ€ť led by guitarist Hunter Brown. An ambient intro to â€śMove My Peepsâ€ť then transitioned into an anticipated drum and bass breakdown. Perhaps the highlight of the night, Brownâ€™s tasteful use of the recognizable vocal samples during a lively â€śInstantly,â€ť emphatically brought the crowd to life.
Throughout, lighting director Saxton Waller dazzled the crowd with a photo-worthy experience (the band offered VIP tickets via Instragram for fans with the best shots.) Highlighted by a variation of the Mayan themed LED pyramid the band has used over the course of the year, he created a colorful atmosphere of diverse emotions.
STS9 balanced the night out with a smooth encore of â€śEquinoxâ€ť before a climatic â€śOpen E.â€ť There was little doubt that many in attendance would be back for more when the ball strikes 12.
Nate Etter is a Boulder-based musician and a regular contributor to Reverb.
Vy Pham is a Denver photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.