Few bands have as dedicated of a following as Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9). The Santa Cruz five-piece has been melting minds with its blend of improvised rock and electronic music for years. What better venue than the Palladium for its return to L.A.? The larger-than-normal venue for the band gave the show an airiness and space that is generally missing from a Saturday night show.
The crowd was reflective of STS9’s neo-jam band sound with a mix of 20-somethings and hippies. Regardless, nearly everyone in attendance was ecstatic for the band’s return.
Openers Tycho eased the crowd into the night with its brand of mellow, dreamy instrumental rock in a transfixing set. Not exactly producing the high-energy dance music that will later follow, Tycho still proved to be an exceptional warm-up for the night to come, playing tracks off its latest release Dive. Psychedelic, trippy visuals complemented the Scott Hansen-fronted/produced group, and the less-than-sober audience unquestionably enjoyed them. Like a soundtrack for a comedown, Tycho’s ambient, relaxing music was a real treat, and STS9 couldn’t have picked a better opener.
With a sea of excited fans greeting them, STS9 took to the stage around 10:30 p.m. for the first of the night’s two sets. With an eye-melting laser setup helping its case, the band quickly warmed up the venue with its incomparable blend of live music and electronic music. Quite simply, no one can do what this band does. Equal parts Phish-esque jam music and computer-based producing, STS9 has the fan base it does for a reason.
The group has been recording for nearly 15 years, and while its albums are certainly impressive, it’s something else entirely to see it all executed live on stage. It’s hard not to be blown away by what this band does.
The nearly three-hour performance was broken up into two sets, giving the audience time for a $13 beer and bathroom break before wrapping up the night.
A STS9 concert is something that should be on everyone's bucket list, and if the exasperated, thrilled crowd walking out of the Palladium were any indication, most would share a similar sentiment.