If there were any lingering clouds hanging over San Francisco, STS9 would have burned them off.

As the sun lowered over the city and the twilight lit the skyline, the Atlanta collective came correct with a 6-song set on Treasure Island Music Festival’s Bridge Stage that chipped away at any remaining stiffness and set the tone for night one of the Bay Area’s premier fall festival.

Representing the closest thing to a rock band that the lineup offered on Saturday, Sound Tribe spiked the punch and chugged it, with the grooves from bassist Alana Rocklin punctuating every sonic sentence.

Treasure Island leans on the electronic dance side of STS9’s appeal, so expecting a 12-minute “Equinox” jam would have been an exercise in misguided selfishness. The group cast as wide a net as possible with the setlist, splitting the selections between 2.0 originals like “World Go Round” and “Totem” with late cuts from just before Rocklin’s arrival like “Vapors” and “When the Dust Settles” offering contrast.

[Video by Heady Flair]
The set began by taking a surgical “Totem” jam into the newest cover in the band’s arsenal, “In Due Time”, which sampled the Cee-Lo Green hook from the Outkast classic. It was a respectful nod to one of men who put Atlanta on the map — Big Boi — who happened to give his first live performance with his newest project, Big Grams, a few hours later.

The instrumentation was flawless as STS9 pulled the jam section into “World Go Round” and used coiling riffs from Hunter Brown’s guitar to get the dance-heavy number into place. The group toyed with its tension-release manner, slamming it shut behind Zach Velmer’s explosive exclamations on the drums.
His engrossing energy reeled in distant eyes and drove the shrink and stretch vehicle of “Inspire Strikes Back” that transitioned the set from its funky first half to the electronic dance numbers that followed.

“Vapors” was able to demonstrate its invigorating evolution, preceding a nasty “When the Dust Settles” that closed the set on a high note as the night sky settled and Saxton Waller’s lights took form.

With thousands assembled in front of Treasure Island’s main stage, STS9 drove home their balanced sound of funk, dance, and electronic experimentation that always seems to connect.

There’s no influence or preference they can’t identify with and bringing a masterful performance like that will undoubtedly create a few more Tribe fans when they depart from the island.

Don’t miss STS9 on their upcoming fall tour, which includes a big stop at the PlayStation Theater in New York, NY on November 5th. More information about that show can be found here.

Setlist: STS9 at Treasure Island Music Festival, San Francisco, CA – 10/17/15

One Set: Totem>In Due Time>World Go Round, Inspire Strikes Back, Vapors, When the Dust Settles

[Photo by Dave Vann]